Melted Ice Cream/Bandcamp
I’d heard the name but I first saw Salad Boys earlier this year – before hearing this, their self-titled album. I missed their opening set unfortunately but saw them as the band backing David Kilgour. They were great. You could sense it was dream-come-true stuff, a band of young guys raised on the Flying Nun stuff, playing with a hero. And they smashed it. So though it would have been nice to catch their set it was actually a nice way to discover them – I knew they had the goods, could deliver the goods…and that made me want to (finally) hear their goods.
And so to this self-titled record, released earlier this year – it’s a charming Flying Nun-ish approximation but it never sounds like anything less than its own thing. Opener, Eighteen Forty Four has that languid, loping Kilgour/Clean thing happening sure, and then Dream Date is another almost-Clean song with bursts of guitar and drums breaking out from what is a happy-sounding pop song. It’s a bit like The 3Ds at times too – the way that pop instinct is so obvious even when caked in walls of fiery guitar noise.
Songs like Here’s No Use and I’m A Mountain feel like they could have arrived any time across the last 30 years – they just happen to be here now. They also sound better than anything Flying Nun’s signed since it re-opened and started wobbling along offering nothing new to the world beyond the key reissues of old material.
I like too that this is just over half-an-hour long, just nine songs. The final track, Strange (actually a Wire cover) has a Velvet Underground White Light/White Heat-era chug to it. Not that unusual of course given the VU were heroes to so many of the Kiwi bands that Salad Boys are tracing around and indeed an influence on Wire.
But again there’s just enough of their own sound here – nothing feels like a conscious aping, nothing feels like it’s been done before and shouldn’t be covered again.
These guys are good.
And this is a great wee album.