Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: Trouble in Mind
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, New Zealand Rock
Don't let the title of this Christchurch, New Zealand band's debut album fool you. Metalmania finds the trio varying their intensity between songs, though they're all melodic exercises built to stick with you after a few spins..
The Salad Boys come by their Flying Nun sound honestly, hailing as they do from the label's birthplace of Christchurch, New Zealand. The second album, and first for Trouble in Mind, Metalmania has the jangle, the low-key songwriting, the off-handed vocal style, and the melodic skill of great Nun bands like the Chills, the Bats, and the Clean down pat. It's almost certainly second nature to a band raised on that music.
Christchurch, New Zealand's Salad Boys are precisely what you'd expect from the land of Flying Nun and Xpressway: a jangly, cerebral, experimental pop group, a bit shambly, with understated vocals buried in the mix and the bright guitar work pushed to the front. They’ve performed as David Kilgour of the Clean’s backing band, and they instantly and seamlessly fit into the legacy Kilgour helped establish; their debut album, Metalmania, feels less like an homage to New Zealand’s 1980s underground and more like a lost release from that time period ready to be unearthed by the record collectors of the future. When Metalmania is good, it's nearly transcendent, as much as a pop album can be.
Salad Boys — Metalmania (Trouble in Mind)If the Salad Boys sound a lot like the Clean, and they do, at least they’ve come by it honestly. The band is a three-piece — Joe Sampson on guitar, Ben Oderling on bass and Jim Nothing on drums — out of Christchurch, New Zealand, and so have likely been hearing fuzzy Flying Nun jams since pre-school. They even spent some time as David Kilgour’s touring band, a stint where guitarist Joe Sampson surely honed the shimmering, splintering guitar sound so reminiscent of Feather in the Engine.Still there’s nothing reverential about the threesome’s wistful pop.
Neuroscientists have discovered that when you hear a song that you really enjoy, it actually gives your brain a jolt of the neurotransmitter, domamine, giving you a physical, pleasurable sensation. So, it appears that ‘music junkies’ may be just that, pleasure seekers addicted to something that gets them a little high from listening. Perhaps those of us that chase this dragon can be called Dopaminers™, always digging for that next big rush? The Salad Boys are a splendiferous discovery from down under, 2nd generation players of Kiwi pop, who have obviously learned much at the feet of the masters, and what a rush! Indeed, what a blessing and a luxury to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, remote, beautiful and wild New Zealand, (Christchurch and Dunedin in particular) plus, having a wealth of so much super-fine music buzzing around your head like a Flying Nun.