At just twenty years old, Nottingham native Callum Burrows, also known as Saint Raymond, has already made quite a name for himself. With nothing more than a handful of singles and EPs under his belt, the singer/songwriter has already supported the likes of Ed Sheeran and Haim on their respective headlining tours of the UK. Last week, Burrows released his long-awaited debut studio album Young Blood via Asylum Records.
I was first introduced to Saint Raymond’s summery musings when I went to catch the Haim sisters in Birmingham back in December 2013. Not having heard of him prior to the gig, I was pleasantly surprised to fall in love with his music so quickly. Each and every song that he played seemed to resonate immediately with everyone in the crowd. The melodies were fresh, and super catchy; his voice beamed across the lively soundscape; everything just felt right. Tracks like “Everything She Wants”, “Letting Go”, “Fall At Your Feet” and title-track “Young Blood” all convey a sense of euphoria, instantly warming the listener with feel-good vibes.
As stand-alone singles come, the four mentioned above couldn’t be stronger, and Burrows has proved time and time again that he can churn out such records with his eyes closed. And so, it’s with the release of Young Blood, which really tests his integrity. Can Saint Raymond really keep this wonderful run of powerful singles and bind them together to form a proper, full length album? The answer to this question, is yes; and no.
The fact that almost half of the songs from the album have been previously heard before (some are up to two years old), coupled with the fact that they also happen to be the highlights from the record, prove quite disappointing. In an attempt to revamp the likes of “Letting Go”, “Everything She Wants” and “Young Blood” to add a refined edge for the album, the opposite seems to have taken effect. Instead of bringing a new lease of life, the songs seem to have lost their authenticity; that magical, indescribable feature appears to have been glossed over.
Now for the positives… Almost all of the staggering seventeen songs present, will paint a smile on your face. It’s the kind of album that you’ll enjoy in the spur of the moment. Burrows, along with producer Jacknife Lee (Taylor Swift, One Direction, U2) fills the instrumentation with a magnificent pallet of immensely vibrant and uplifting sounds; ranging from expansive guitar riffs and driving drums, to subtle synths. All in all, Young Blood doesn’t entirely live up to expectations, in fact, it falls slightly short. It’s not going to change your life, you may even forget about it after a few listen, but one thing is for sure: it’s catchy, simple and oodles of fun.