photograph courtesy of Julia

Until the previous night, Paul Thomas Saunders was unknown to us. SFTOC had only just published the running times for the day, and we were working our way through the list of bands on the SFTOC website, meticulously listening to all the bandcamp etc links, trying to plan the day ahead. It was a long evening. Most of the links got at most a cursory listen, until we got to PTS. In the end we had to tear ourselves away, and force ourselves to carry on working through the list.

In other words, this was a must-see.

By way of background, the St. Philips lineup was curated by our friends at Hey! Manchester, who by and large have impeccable taste in music. In the end, we arrived early, the entire festival was running a little behind schedule, and we ended up staying longer than initially planned. It was an evening of beautiful music, and to this writers ears, PTS was the absolute pinnacle.

The band came onstage, and at first it seemed shambolic; but soundchecking seamlessly segued into Santa Muerte’s lightning & flare, which brought to mind Submarine’s debut album albeit slightly less frenetic.The use of both regular and distorting microphones was a nice touch (a technique used effectively by Damien Rice amongst others).

Paul cut a slightly nervous figure, berating us for having cans of beer in church. His lyrics belie his youth – Appointment in Samarra detailing a breakup (“make no future plans / sever every bound that binds us”) and The trail remains unseen about exorcising the past (“as the fields turn to coast / let the water scare away all of your ghosts / of the girls you held at seventeen”).

We are pleased with this recording, and can’t wait til Paul is playing headline slots. We hope you agree.

Stream “The trail remains unseen”:

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Download complete show: click preferred format: mp3 or flac

Santa Muerte’s lightning & flare
Appointment in Samarra
Good times rags and requiems
Let the carousel display you & I
The trail remains unseen
A lunar veteran’s guide to re-entry

If you download and enjoy this music we would fully expect you to support the band by buying their records and attending their gigs. Paul’s official website is here and his music can be purchased here.

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