So again, I'm asked to make these year end lists of what I think are the best albums of the year and why do I cringe a little bit? Because I know, I just know, I'll forget to include an album that deserves a spot on the list. Case in point: The Nevers by Bridgeport's Saint Bernadette.
The Nevers, released in August of 2011, is the fifth studio album from Bridgeport's answer to the rhetorical question, 'what's the best rock band in CT?' Saint Bernadette is fronted by the awe-inspiring Meredith DiMenna. Let's start right there. DiMenna delivers an absolutely powerhouse performance once again on this record. From the Grace Slick and Ann Wilson inspired rock fest of the opener "In The Time of Moses" to the Emmylou Harris-esque beauty of closer "Close Enough For Me" DiMenna spends the album running the gamut of emotions and styles with uncanny precision. It's perfectly clear from note one that this is DiMenna's show and everyone else is either along for the ride or about to get run right the hell over.
What I had no idea of until I stumbled across a review on their Bandcamp page was that this album was written during and after not only the dissolution of the creative team of DiMenna and Keith Saunders but their marriage as well. It all makes so much sense now. Think of the bands and artists that were going through horrible times and came out the other side with completely stellar music to show for it. The list is endless. Add Saint Bernadette to this list because this album is possibly the most complete and singular album they've ever done. When the emotions go into overdrive on songs like "In The Next Go Round", "Winding Road" and "Night In Gale" it's gut-wrenching in that special way that potent and emotive music can be.
This band draws from many influences on this record - the blues, indie rock, 60's rock and soul, even old-school country just to name a few. But they put it all together in a cohesive package that's not only easy to digest but lends itself to multiple repeat listens every time you put it on. If you're a fan of bands that aren't afraid to kick ass and get in touch with their sensitive side all at the same time, sometimes in the same song, then this album should be A1 on your albums to purchase list.