(30 May 2009) Bridgeport, Connecticut's Saint Bernadette have released their third recording entitled Word To The Lourdes (Exotic Recordings (USA) Er-1026, 2009). It is a six-song EP that takes a tougher stance than their previous albums, and is the first of three EPs they plan to release in 2009.
The title alludes to the shrine in France where the band's namesake first saw the Virgin Mary, as well as to the present-day Madonna's actual daughter and her metaphorical daughters, who, like lead singer Meredith DiMenna, grew up with the one-time Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone as a role model.
DiMenna recounts her affection for the Diva by noting, "In the 80s, Madonna kicked the door down. She was powerful and positive and singing that women should express themselves." But DiMenna also considers the cost of that power: "Madonna fell into her own trap. She believed the hype, and now she has to run around in thongs and thigh-highs to prove it."
But just as the Material Girl constantly re-invents herself, Saint Bernadette move beyond the Motown influences of their stunning In The Ballroom debut and 2008's I Wanna Tell You Something EP to produce their most rock 'n roll offering to date.
"Already Gone," the first single from Word To The Lourdes, pushes wailing guitars and propelling drums to make for a fierce and catchy new-wave anthem anchored by the seductively commanding female vocals. The lovely closing track, "Don't Take This Away From Me," is a stunning ballad that showcases Meredith's vocal chops. Ripping electric guitar provides the foundation for "I Can't Add You To My List."
The band's shift to rock is evident from the guitar-laden opening track "Nobody Wants My Kind Words." Layered vocals pierce through the driving arrangement. Album standout "[He's] A Collector" is an upbeat new wave-edged tune. The chorus is reminscent of 60s rock, with more layered harmonies gliding over the glistening electric guitar. "Wrap It Up" is a short rocker with the band's characteristic vocal harmonies and raunchy guitars adding an 80s texture.
Saint Bernadette have not only innovated their sound, but also in their planned release strategy that includes three EPs for 2009. Instead of keeping their audiences waiting for a full album, they will dole it out in segments. We are
intrigued to see if the band continues to grow from EP to EP this year as they have from their last EP elease in 2008.