Release Date: Jan 19, 2018
Record label: Trouble in Mind
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, New Zealand Rock
All of us experience the less than pleasant sensations of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, sensations that seem to become more and more normalized as we age. There’s the ever-present tick of the clock as you reach the end of your twenties, the dull ache of potential not realized as your thirties pass by in a blur. And so it goes until the existential dread of your impending mortality shrinks to almost a comfort, the only certainty in a most uncertain world. Sound like one gigantic bummer? It is! But life also has ways of letting you temporarily forget that it’s one big shitshow, ultimately balancing things out to a bearable normality.
Salad Boys’ second full length is noisier and more emphatic than 2015’s Metalmania, drawing sharper outline around its fuzz-crusted pop songs, kicking them harder and finding a vein of anarchic joy in its classic Flying Nun sound. During the interim, there’s been a change in line-up for the Christchurch-based outfit –Joe Sampson, the singer and guitar player, is now flanked by Ben Dodd on bass and Ben Woods on drums. That shift in players may account for the programmed drums in lead-off cut, “Blown Up,” whose tense, monotone chants, give way to clanging guitar.
The Salad Boys' 2015 debut album Metalmania was a fine update on classic jangle pop, full of ringing guitars, hooky melodies, and a mix of uptempo and more relaxed tunes. They don't deviate much from their winning formula on This Is Glue, the 2018 follow-up. Unlike the previous album, which was a more collaborative effort, this time the band's songwriter Joe Sampson took control.
Salad Boys make their home in the comfortable, well-worn groove between Sebadoh, Teenage Fanclub and the Stone Roses ('Exaltation' is a Squire / Brown composition in all but name). The jingly-jangly guitar - heavily dependent on elated open G riffing - coupled with mid-tempo, average joe structures and faded vocals hover nostalgically above that mid-90s, mid-Atlantic indie zone. The vocal swings blithely from Elliot Smith to Jason Loewenstein.
This Is Glue by Salad Boys The Salad Boys' new LP of melodic rock is compulsively listenable from the jump. "Blown Up" kicks off with a krauty beat and an urgent, half-whispered vocal that sure-foots its way along the percussion's tight grooves. You don't even miss the guitars until they show up, about a minute in, in a shower of jangled notes. The guitars quickly pull back, then sneak and snake around the bassline.