Saint Henry was an 11th Century Duke of Bavaria and Roman Emperor known for his humility, spirit of justice and a well known zeal for discipline. While the holy individual might not have anything to do with Melbourne rockers Saint Henry, the duo have had a spirited run since debuting live early 2014, playing everywhere that would have them and quickly becoming mainstays of the live scene. This is something that could only come from an enthusiasm for discipline, however slight it may be.
Like your two-piece bands short, fast and loud? So do we, and Melbourne post-grunge duo Saint Henry is ready to just that on Lunatic Asylum.
After a myriad of shows they hopped the border to record at The Grove Studios on the Central Coast of New South Wales, not before reportedly receiving a few studio pointers from DZ Deathrays and then spending time under the watchful and undoubtedly knowledgeable eye of producer Scott Horscroft. The result is the release of single Lunatic Asylum that provides a pounding, unrelenting and frothing statement of intent.
From the opening note it’s clear that Hayden Manassa (guitar,vocals) and David Lo (skins) are looking to play in the ballpark of their peers DZ Deathrays, particularly in the more polished sound of Black Rat. That’s not to detract from Saint Henry, Lunatic Asylum has balls, big rock balls and a riff library that could spawn numerous other songs. There’s urgency that after a few listens you can almost taste, they want something and they’re coming for it at pace.
The golden goose of the track is that the duo is smart enough to hit you with the hook straight away but is then careful not to drill it in to you until it festers into mindlessness. In fact they take a right turn and launch in to an entirely new hook, in what some pop purists would call the bridge. It’s not a break from the onslaught by any means, just a different way to look at it.
If you caught a whiff of the crushing melodies of fellow two-piece bands like Little Horn and Walken then chances are you’ll be all over Saint Henry like a Bruce on chocolate cake. Lunatic Asylum is a purposeful statement that twists you into a knot and then releases you in to the wild, hopefully with a can of beer and open field nearby.