Salad Boys – Metalmania

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

We seem to be in the era of jangly rock and roll. That is to say these days have brought the indie rock scene to a point in which the norm is now those angular workings of guitar riffs in whatever genre you like; there’s the stoner rock of bands like Mac Demarco, or more tightly wound pop groups. Regardless, in order to stand out, you’ve gotta make the jangle your own, taking it in a direction different than before. Enter Salad Boys of New Zealand, whose sound ranges within the genre, from laid back to melt your face off in the mere jump of a song on Metalmania. 

This group of gentlemen open the album with a delicate sound on “Here’s No Use–” with the winding guitar work that won’t quit and the urgent yet soft vocals of Joe Sampson, the song seems fairly subtle at first. The drums are barely there, merely gentle clicking to match the rhythm of the guitar as it loops in its neat and clean sound. As the track progresses, the elements gain a bit of traction; secondary vocals join the mix and the guitars are doubled up to round out the opening track. The next song, “Dream Date,” shows the other, less chilled out, rock side of Salad Boys– the guitars are faster and heavier, drums join the mix, adding a thick layer of percussive sheen with the abundant crashing of cymbals.

These two directions of tracks seem to account for the direction of sound that Salad Boys take on this record; you get the laid back sun-bleached indie rock of the first track, or the more high-energy rock of the second track. Each style seems to suit the band’s sound fairly well, and the back and forth doesn’t feel like whiplash as it does a trip through changing terrain, soft and lush at one moment and biting rock the next.

Most signs point to Metalmania to be a grower of an album– while each track is pleasing to the ears and begs for you to play it outside at a barbecue or driving around in your car with the wind blowing through, there aren’t clear standout tracks. Originally, I thought it was when the band ripped into the rockier side of their sound, but those with mild tonality seem to grasp my attention just as much. Perhaps in time, these numbers will be apparent, or perhaps the tunes on this album are a little too mild. Regardless, I look forward to hear what Salad Boys have in store for us next.

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