Tuesday 15 October 2013

The Salient Braves - Somewhere Sordid EP

EP review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

The first thing to say about The Salient Braves (assuming you're not already familiar with them) is that the music they make would be many people's idea of indie music in the very truest sense. The word has meant many things over the years, but songs like these will always be considered indie in every way, and this is no slight on the music, because back when the word had genuine meaning it caused a revolution in the way that music was made, distributed, listened to and even categorised. So the septet led by Barnsley's Matt Bailey should be proud that the tracks here are made to sound as they want, not how they expect the public to want them and not how they're being directed to record by their label (in this instance it's the ace new independent label Dufflecoat Records). Perhaps "indie" is generally considered a musical ethic rather than a style now, well The Salient Braves have the style, the ethics and the freedom. For a quick understanding of where the band are coming from you only need to listen to 'Chance', a song that defines everything about them in under two minutes.

How many other alternative-type bands would happily throw in a cover of a song as famous as 'Waterloo Sunset' and not use it as a cash-in? They do a great cover by the way, using their own sound to restore some of the wonder of the original that has sadly been dulled by over-familiarity. The title-track is where we start though, and it could be plucked from a strictly limited 7" from thirty years ago. The lyrics are clever without being smug or reading like someone's just thumbed through a thesaurus, and the melody is good, with some nice guitar (they even throw in a solo that works perfectly, and this isn't the only instance). It may be a little futile going into too much detail about their sound, as you can probably guess that from what's been said so far. The trumpet on 'I'm Alright Now' adds a nice bit of diversity, and the lyrics talk about the benefits of joining a cult, something which seems to have repaired someone's tarnished live ("you may raise a brow, but I'm alright now") while touching on the seedier side of such organisations ("they fixed me up with young girls which was very nice"). Don't worry, our hero escapes the cult in the end, realising the error of his ways. 'Out To Lunch' deals with the overly (and needlessly) medicated world of mental health ("when it comes to the crunch, it's no picnic being out to lunch") which isn't even understood by the medical profession ("fill us up with pills and watch us rattle"). This kind of thing may have been done before, but at least it's the sound of a band doing what they want, and doing it well.

The Salient Braves' website

Buy the EP

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