Are you ready to be heartbroken?
Or at least ready to have your heart broken and then pieced back together again?
Of course not, how could you be?
A new Salad album is on its way.
Butterflies in your stomach?
Of course you do.
Who wouldn’t be.
“I love Salad” you are thinking.
I hear you.
I share that intense feeling of affection.
The thing is though “The Salad Way” is better than whatever it is you are expecting.
You are expecting pop hooks, the unique thrills of Marijne’s voice, the spills of the eclectic, eccentric, melodies that Paul has put together from a cornucopia of influences that extend far beyond the usual British pop lexicon.
You get all of that.
But you get it all bigger, better and brighter than at any other point in the Salad story.
You get something that stretches far beyond the confines of the way things used to be.
In film when a director wants to unsettle an audience they often employ something called the “Dutch angle”;
“…used to portray psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed”
Everything is recognisable…but something is off.
The Salad way delivers a similar experience to the Dutch angle.
It is a pop record.
You can sing along.
You can tap your toe.
It all feels familiar.
But, at the same time, underneath the things you recognise there is something…else. Fings ain’t wot they should be. There is an intensity, shadows bleed from the edges, there is an honesty and a peculiarity that makes the overall impact deeper, more impactful and, in places, more unsettling than your standard pop record.
“When it’s dark you’ll hear me playing clarinet…you think you know me but you’re in the dark…”
“In the Dark” is a great example of all of this. From the Black Sabbath meets The Pixies throb and pulse of the melody, to the near stream of consciousness lyric and the woozy, fuzzy, scuzzy guitar work it is, without doubt, one of the best songs the band have ever recorded…incredibly that isn’t the only time you will feel that way listening to this album.
“I’ve been staring at the wall and it’s been staring back at me” sings Marijne on “Your Face” sounding like the soul of Catherine Deneuve in Polanksi’s psychological horror, “Repulsion” and just the tone of her voice is enough to bring tears to the glassiest of eyes. Her voice is stronger, cleaner, purer and, at the same time, more delicate than it has ever been before. It’s a vocal performance that makes you quiver with delight and anger at the same time; delight at something so lovely entering your world and anger at the fact that less delightful things will sell records by the tens of thousands while “The Salad Way” may not.
It’s not right.
There is a bit of new wave, disco and funk on “Don’t Expect Things Not To Be Scary”…it’s like Daft Punks “Get Lucky” or Pharell’s “Happy” for the sort of people who used to fill the dance floor at suburban indie discos. “Club Tropicana” for kids in Doctor Marten boots. It is, to be perfectly frank, bloody great.
Salad sound like the best new band in the country on this album. It isn’t a record that has been made to please, or appease, people who liked “On a Leash” back in 199-whatever. This isn’t an attempt to get the band back together or to cash in on a wave of nineties nostalgia.
These are songs that are soaked through with passion, love, romance, desire, loss, heartbreak, pain and trauma…just listen to “The Inside of My Head” for evidence of all of that at once. “I’m living in a place I don’t want to be, it’s called…the inside of my head, look in my eyes, can’t you see, I want to be someone else instead.” there are very few bands who trade in this sort of honesty, emotional purity and acceptance of weakness. It is lovely to have rock ‘n’ roll that is dumb, dumb, dumb and pop that celebrates the moon in June but, sometimes, you need to hear the sound of your own darkest moments being thrown back at you.
Are you in need of comfort?
Of course you are.
“The Salad Way” is released on August 30th and you can pre-order your copy here.
You can see Salad live at the Star Shaped Festival in Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and London.