Record Reviews

The Saints ? (I’m) Stranded

The Saints were reluctant punks. There was nothing as curatorial about them as McLaren’s Sex Pistols, as this documentary sets out to say. (I’m) Stranded was an album expressing the frustration and anxiety of working-class kids in the airless Brisbane environment of the late 70s.

The doco provides an adequately crude picture of the political and cultural forces at work in Bjelke-Peterson’s Queensland, the context which banded the Saints and their audience, and proceeds to detail the flurry of interest around the band in the UK upon the DIY release of its first single (?(I’m) Stranded?). With EMI chasing the band via their parent’s telephones, buzz soon turned to a record deal which soon turned to an album, all inside six months. The band thought their first EMI session was simply demoing, the label thought the tracks were ready for release, the audience and critics thought they were brilliant.

The band moved to London in 1977, only to be disappointed by what they found there. ?Meathead city? is what Ed Kuepper calls it, arguing London had, from the early days, a narrowed and censorious vision of punk. The band had no truck with this: Eternally Yours, their next full-length, strayed from the 4/4 guitar-bass-drums purity of punk. Their musical singularity, though, couldn’t keep the band together: Ed Kuepper and Chris Bailey simply couldn’t function. After burning bright, Kuepper had left by 1979. The Saints of the 70s were arrogant and volatile, as they needed to be. Punk’s one word for it.