Salad Boys - This is Glue - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Salad Boys - This is Glue

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:7 Release Date:2018-01-19
Salad Boys - This is Glue
Salad Boys - This is Glue

Salad Boys latest, This is Glue, is a mash-up of “Jangly Kiwi indie-pop” and dark, brooding lyrics that create a compelling second effort. The three-piece from Christchurch, NZ opens strongly with the throbbing, aptly titled “Blow Up,” my favorite track on the album. A rumbling intro gives way to surf riffs that roll up to a soaring, flanged-guitar-fueled chorus.

With a sound heavy with influences from R.E.M., The Byrds, and dozens of chiming, arpeggio-driven bands from the halcyon days of 90s American indie pop, Salad Boys stand out from that genre thanks to the low, almost whispered vocals of songwriter/singer/guitarist Joe Sampson. I keep hearing mid-70s solo David Gilmour meshed with Steve Kilbey from The Church, and Ray Davies when he pushes his hushed voice with greater urgency.

The Byrds flavor comes through on “Exaltation,” a song that calls to mind the 90s alternative sounds coming out of the UK, as well. “In Heaven” you can hear the sunnier, languid sides of their sound, clashing with darker lyrics, “You’re not buried yet, so just play dead.” “Under the Bed” mixes early R.E.M. and reverb guitar with paranoid lyrics about, “Waiting for someone to come to my house with a fucking knife.” Sampson’s vocals give these songs a delightfully creepy vibe, which juxtaposes nicely with the jangle-pop sound. “Scenic Route to Nowhere” is the album’s most adventurous song, a spoken-word lyric atop a roller coaster guitar melody. Between this song and “Blow Up,” the band really hits my sweet spot.

At twelve songs that have a lot in common vibe-wise; dreamy, hushed lyrics and jangly melodies, This is Glue may be a few songs too long, or simply lacking in a few more songs like the aforementioned up tempo ones, and a few less of the more chilled ones. Given that Sampson is the only remaining of the three original members however, there’s obviously some changes going on, even as Sampson continues to hone his songwriting craft. Thus, Salad Boys seem a right promising band whose progress it would be wise to keep an eye on.

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