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CD REVIEW: THE AINTS! – The Church Of Simultaneous Existence

| 5 November 2018 | Reply

CD REVIEW: THE AINTS! – The Church Of Simultaneous Existence
ABC Records
September 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Ever wondered what might have happened if the original line-up of The Saints had continued long enough to make a fourth album together? We’ll never know, of course, but founding guitarist Ed Kuepper, who played on those three seminal albums and went on to further success with The Laughing Clowns and as a solo artist, has resurrected, “songs and various musical and lyric elements that I wrote between 1969 when I began high school and started to seriously fantasise about putting a band together, and late 1978.”

Assembled with Peter Oxley (of Sunnyboys) on bass, Paul Larsen Loughhead (New Christs, Celibate Rifles) on drums plus a small but deadly horn section, The Church Of Simultaneous Existence is not only a wry nod to the alternative history nature of The Aints!, but also a tantalising glimpse into a possible alternative reality for estranged mother band The Saints.

Kuepper himself has been so prolific – releasing some twenty-ish studio albums since departing Chris Bailey’s company in The Saints (including two as The Aints [note no exclamation mark] in the early ‘90s) – that we’re surprised he even has untapped material dating so far back. Noting for the record that, “some hindsight has been applied to smooth the transition,” and crediting the current band with arrangement of the material, The Church… is an excellent addition to both his canon, and that of The Saints.

It’s potentially a sticky legal point, but as co-architect of that band, shouldn’t he have the right to release material that would probably have been used for that band, in the style of that band? I have no idea about Mr Bailey’s thoughts on the subject, but as we’ve not heard about any petty legal action, I would like to think all parties are accepting, if not enthusiastic.

The result is a superb collection of Kuepper material, delivered in an energetic, sometimes aggressive post-punk style, which deserves its place amongst his finest albums. It’s enough to wonder, in fact, if he has more “bits and pieces” stored away on cassette tapes from the era.

Red Aces appeared on the second of those ‘90s Aints albums, and is reworked into an opener par excellence here, full of horns and grit. Swap Bailey’s snarl for Kuepper’s honeyed alt-rock vocals and this is what may have happened had the singer left The Saints instead of the rest of the band quitting en masse.

Oxley co-produces with legendary industry cult figure Tim Pittman, a man synonymous with the early career of Hard-Ons, amongst others. They’ve made the sound simple and clear, giving everyone room to move and – like all the best – they know that the space between the notes is as important or more than the notes themselves. Eamon Dilworth plays a mean trumpet and arranges the horn section, superbly referencing the style of the disintegrating Saints in 1978 on the Eternally Yours and Prehistoric Sounds albums.

SOS ’75 is punchy enough to have sat on I’m Stranded, which The Rise And Fall Of James Hoopnoch Eefil is pure Goons-meets-music hall fun, an in joke that we can only hope Kuepper will share with us all at some stage, like he has shared these songs, forty to fifty years after he wrote them.

There’s a second disc included as well, of instrumentals of each track, and if you needed any proof that this was a crack band, there it is without the distraction of the vocals.

Category: CD Reviews

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