Saint Jaimz – Absent Without Love
Southern California’s Saint Jaimz logged almost twenty years in service to our country as an United States Army member and his resolute commitment to the uniform is likely to bolster his continuing efforts to construct a lasting music career. His full length collection Life Songs makes clear, on title alone, his primary ambition as a songwriter and performer – he wants to convey emotionally honest and credible material recalling the genre’s past glories while still existing in the present with a sound and style that will resonate with modern audiences. “Absent Without Love”, taken from the Life Songs collection, is a showstopper soul tune with some strong R&B strands as well coloring the performance and Jaimz owns the song with his own style and presence. It’s a powerful and deeply satisfying first 2018 single for Saint Jaimz and it’s sure to be followed by more to come.
“Absent Without Love” has some of the typical lushness we associate with this style of soul and R&B layered with an additional surfeit of insight and lyrical acumen. The arrangement uses keyboards of various stripes (piano, synth) alongside an understated and stylish rhythm section accompaniment. The drumming, especially, sets a strong tone for the song. The presence of nearly lyrical acoustic guitar is a relatively unusual choice for the song, but the way it threads melodic webs sustaining the song as a whole will undoubtedly appeal to a vast audience of potential listeners. The song’s chorus is very effective, as is the bridge, and it highlights the deft orchestration driving much of the song’s success from the outset. Running a little over four and a half minutes, “Absent Without Love” could definitely be further cut without affecting the song’s impact with listeners, but it also can stand as is and make a definite impression on all those coming across its charms.
Few new singers come across with the sophistication and experience Saint Jaimz manifests at such an early age. He sounds like he’s been doing this for years and likely has, but this moment in the spotlight has drawn something out of him deeper and profounder than anything we could have experienced in recent memory. He doesn’t announce his presence in the song with any figurative chest beating – instead, he’s nearly omnipresent from the first without ever obscuring the quality of what’s going on around him. The cool economy of his phrasing is emblematic of the genre’s iconic performers and it’s a testament to his talents that he can readily recall such approaches while still seeming and sounding utterly modern. “Absent Without Love” is distinguished by his adroit writing, winning vocal presence, exceptional arranging talents, and the capability of enlisting ideal collaborators for his recordings. Saint Jaimz’s initial release isn’t just geared to impress; it’s clearly intended as the opening salvo in a long career to come and, judged as such, is a wildly successful effort.