The Saint James Society
Bab(a / y)lon Rising (Tee Pee)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., April 12, 2013
The Saint James SocietyBab(a/y)lon Rising (Tee Pee)
Standing tall in glitter-painted cowboy boots, one hand spinning a Fuzztones LP and the other clutching the Necronomicon, the Saint James Society storms the church of Lone Star psych. Bab(a/y)lon Rising, full-length follow-up to last year's defiantly odd eponymous EP, ebbs and flows like the ocean at night, the moonlight undulating waves of pollen-fried garage rock ("Get Cold"), colored-smoke balladry ("Letters Signed in White," "Ode to the Turquoise Ox"), bonfire epics ("House of Snakes," "Blood & Sand"), bad-dream ambience ("Celestial Symbols Interpreted"), and even classical piano ("Post Tenebras Lux"). The Society succeeds at painting with whatever colors adorn its brushes, but the album takes shape when leader Brandon Burkart spreads his legs, blinks his eyelined peepers, and struts through the black-hearted, swivel-hipped tab & roll of "The Serpentine Highway," "Refractions," and the title ode. It's like Aleister Crowley crashing the acid party with silver stars painted on his cheeks. The locals' organic blend of brown acid and leather 'n' makeup swagger puts a new spin on the Roky Erickson tradition of bad-vibes psychedelia, where angels and devils copulate loudly in the poppy fields of the soul.