Saint Max and the Fanatics is Max Syed-Tollan, a young man from the Galloway region of Scotland. Max describes his music as offbeat pop, but while that description is undeniably accurate, it doesn't begin to convey the scope of his work. It seems to me that the songs offered on this self-titled EP range from exuberant indie pop to a style I would call contemporary Celtic cabaret, which may bring to mind Morrissey. But whatever you want to call it, it is captivating and entertaining. Understand, for a young man, Max has a lot to say, and he says much of it to music.
The EP includes five tracks, which can be streamed in full below, but we will take an individual look at three of the songs that I think demonstrate his musical range, compositional skills, sense of humor and deft touch in telling a story. Our spotlight first shines on track three, the beautiful ballad "Wonderful Life" --
The energetic pop side of Max is ably represented by the following two tracks. "A Life Worth Living", which is the lead track of the EP, is a rollicking pop tune that careens on the edge of going out of control and smashing the glassware; it is a fun ride.
Fun, did I mention fun? Good timing that is, because the third track I'll bring to your attention is the excellent indie pop track with a wicked sense of humor: "Die Annie Die" --
Max has the musical talent and a great voice, and he appears to have the necessary dose of ambition. I think he's one of the ones to watch.
Max's EP released on July 16. If you are one of our UK readers, you can hear the Saint live on Saturday, July 14, at The Captain's Rest in Glasgow. The album was recorded at Glasgow's venerable Green Door Studio. The Fanatics are, for the most part, Max himself on vocals, guitar, bass and keys. But the album also credits Muir Steele (guitars and bass), Elliot Waterhouse (brass), Fraser Gibson (brass), Ewan McCall (brass), Scott Murphy (brass), and Scott Duff (drums).
You can stream the entire EP here on Bandcamp. If you prefer Soundcloud, here is the link.
Multiple songs on Soundcloud
Twitter ( @saintmaxmusic )