Drink Me by Salad at 25

DRINKME

It seems ridiculous to me.

I refuse to accept it.

A quarter of a century.

I won’t have it.

It can’t be.

Ah, but it is.

The passing of time with all of its sickening crimes.

Perhaps the most sickening of all is the fact that Marijne from Salad has refused to age.  It’s a cliche but I’m fairly sure that there is a portrait in an attic somewhere of her, where the ageing process that has so blighted my own eek has also taken its awful toll on hers.  It is the only explanation for the fact that she looks now just as she did then.

Alternatively she may just have drunk a lot of water and moisturised.

Anyway, we are not here for how to grow old gracefully tips.

“Drink Me” was the album that should have propelled Salad to the very toppermost of the pops.  It had a none more Britpop single in the shape of “Motorbike to Heaven” which had troubled the charts and everything.  There was one problem though…Salad were not particularly interested in playing the game and making the sort of music that might make them “big”.

There is no “Cor blimey, ‘ow’s your favver” nonsense here.

No mention of tea…English or sugary.

No nod to the Kinks or The Beatles either.

Mad buggers.

Instead their were spiky, peculiar, eccentric, angular and quirky songs that owed more to the likes of The Pixies and The Fall…arch, knowing, dark but always with an emphasis on melody and with a pinch of wonky humour.

Nobody in Northern Uproar was going to write something like “Gertrude Campbell”.

Noel Gallagher wouldn’t know what was going on with “Shepherd’s Isle”.

As for “Man With a Box”, well, it’s difficult to imagine These Animal Men trading in that sort of thing.

Salad were trading in something more experimental, more challenging and, as a result, they were a delicious delight for people like me who, while delighted that indie had finally staged a coup of the mainstream, were also yearning for the days when the music we liked wasn’t the only music being played on Top of the Pops.

They were freaks like me.

Outsiders.

“Sex dreams, nightmares, wake me up to the fact, that nobody cares…nobody cares” is the sort of line that confirms that, despite its place at number sixteen in the charts, we were not in the same territory as “Wake Up Boo” or “Country House”.  Something much more profound was going on in Salad land and I wanted to be a part of it.

“Drink Me” is fourteen songs written and performed by people who had to sing and perform songs just like them.  They were also songs that could only have ever been written and performed by those people.

I’ve got it!

Unique.

That’s what “Drink Me” was.

Unique.

Not another female fronted band…God how I hate that phrase.

Not another Britpop band.

Not another anything.

They were simply Salad.

Twenty five years on and “Drink the Elixir” still sounds like something dangerous, transgressive…the sort of thing that you wouldn’t want your mum to catch you singing along to.  Not because of anything in the lyrics…but because it feels that way.  Salad were always a band where feeling mattered; to them and to you.  My feeling today is that this is an album that sounds as perversely magnificent as it did then.