It has been a long time coming but finally this summer, Callum Burrows AKA Saint Raymond has released his debut album Young Blood. Preceding this release throughout the last year and a half with several singles and EPs, this Nottingham-born artist has started to make waves, his blend of acoustic guitar and anthemic choruses making him a festival favourite.
Young Blood features many songs already well-known to fans of Saint Raymond, and a few listens really certifies that those releases were the right choices to showcase this young musician’s talent. Opener ‘Letting Go’ kicks off proceedings in fine form, and sets the pace for the rest of the LP, signalling to listeners that they’re in for a treat. While some of the tracks on this debut sound very similar in range and style, you have to hand it to Burrows; Young Blood is a polished collection of tracks, perhaps almost too polished when listening to the album versions of previous EP tracks. The finest example of this would be fan favourite ‘As We Are Now’. Despite still being a highlight in terms of his songwriting inspirations taking Burrows to higher places, the track receiving the ever-so-typical ‘album mix’ treatment takes away some of its original raw emotion which is a considerable shame. The album tracks stringing these well-known singles together are a mixed bag. While ‘Come Back To You’ and ‘Be There’ are quickly catchy and feature very strong choruses, the latter in particular, you can’t help but wonder why tracks ‘Great Escape’ and ‘Don’t Fail Me Now’ are featured so close together as. While both are decent tracks in isolation, they slow the pace down almost too much, especially when listening to the album as a whole.
There are some stand out tracks that shine through on Young Blood. Alongside fan favourite ‘Fall At Your Feet’ which still sounds as wonderful and refreshing as it did when it was first released 8 months ago, ‘Wild Heart’ has a 1975-influenced style, the guitar melodies throughout the track making it a song that is certain to be many people’s soundtrack to summer. Another that seems to have been overlooked in the original tracklisting (instead found on the deluxe version of the album) is ‘Movie On My Mind’. Knowing the story behind this track – it was written a week before his headline tour back in February this year – highlights the songwriting talents of Burrows, clichéd lyrics getting a refreshing look on such a sublime, refined song. Alongside ‘Movie On My Mind’, there is yet more emotion fuelling Saint Raymond’s debut. ‘Carry Her Home’ is dark and slow, particularly lyrically with Burrows singing ‘The city screams and my echoes dream / She’s fallen over, so I carry her home a song’. The track implies a number of dark themes, and I am sure will be one in particular that will come across particularly well within a live setting.
Live shows are where Saint Raymond really comes to life; the key word to describe his music is simplicity, something which he builds on with ease when playing to a large crowd. Selling out academy shows is something he’s done time and time again now and I am sure it won’t be long before he goes on to even bigger and better things. While this debut is not the strongest, it’s a valiant effort that signifies this is only the beginning for the 20-year-old, and it’ll be one I have no doubt will be on repeat all throughout summer.
Words by Kirstie Sutherland
[Originally written for The Indiependent]