For a band that names itself after a Catholic saint and adorns
the cover of their new album with formal décor best suited to a christening or
a wedding invitation, Saint Bernadette seems quite the rambunctious bunch.
Perhaps the better comparison at this stage of their development might be to
cite the dual influence of two retro rock stalwarts, Led Zeppelin and Heart.
Imagine a clandestine affair between Robert Plant and Nancy Wilson, and then
suppose they produced an illegitimate offspring. That child would be birthed in
the person of Meredith DiMenna, an assured and assertive front person whose relentless
wail might have been inherited from her mythical parentage. On this — their
fourth effort so far — opening track “In the Time of Moses” conveys the crashing
chords, ponderous rhythms and sneering attitude that the aforementioned bands
once mined so well. “Roll me over/Suck me dry/Everybody’s out of
control/Everybody’s getting high.” Hmmm, clearly DiMenna’s no shrinking violet.
“Take It If It’s Yours,” “Elsa” and “Winding Road” maintain that defiant
stance, an unrepentant attitude translated into a sturdy stomp and arched refrains.
Yet, for all their posturing, the band never falls prey to pretense or parody. DiMenna
excels as a sensuous siren, and on songs like the sinewy “I Get Lost” or the
vampish “Whatcha Prayin’ For,” she coaxes and croons in an attempt to lure her
prey. One never gets the impression Saint Bernadette is pushing the parameters
quite as far as they could, but never say that The Nevers doesn’t make an emphatic impression.
DOWNLOAD: “In the
Time of Moses,” “I Get Lost” LEE ZIMMERMAN