OK, let’s address the elephant in the room. After half a dozen spins of Robin James’ mightily impressive debut album, I still struggled with the notion that James is a bloke. His voice, stripped of any effects, whispering over a finger-picked acoustic guitar, could easily be that of a middle aged woman. It’s unique, but it will also undoubtedly be divisive. Give Saint Jude a chance though, and you might just grow to love it. This is ostensibly a collection of memories and half told anecdotes from James’ past. He writes about religion, love and his childhood and the results are frequently captivating. Idiosyncratic vocals aside, there are stylistic nods to Nick Drake (Go To The Water) and John Martyn (Alive That’s All) over the course of eleven simple and sometimes humorous (Van Gogh challenges the Dutchman’s decision to take his own lug off) folk songs. In a saturated singer-songwriter market, James’ originality deserves to separate him from the pack.
Buy Saint Jude here
Written for The Skinny