King of the Sun/King of the Midnight Sun
Chris Bailey, one of the greatest—and most underrated—singers in rock and roll, has fronted Australia’s Saints since the ’70s, when the band cut the snarling punk classic “(I’m) Stranded.” Bailey and a revolving support crew have explored a variety of styles over the years, with his gritty, expressive vocals the only constant. (Imagine Eric Burdon of The Animals with a little less blues.) Following a profile-raising cover by Bruce Springsteen earlier this year on his High Hopes album, the latest Saints outing is an interesting experiment, offering two different takes on the same 11 songs. King of the Sun, the nicer version, features big pop arrangements that employ horns, pianos and the like; King of the Midnight Sun presents a scuzzier, garage-appropriate alternative closer to the Saints’ original style. Either way, Bailey is a compelling leading man who never sounds an unconvincing note.