New Zealand's Salad Boys manage to draw upon a whole range of influences but, invariably, descriptions of their sound usually involve a lot of references to earlier generations of Kiwi bands like The Clean and The Cakekitchen. Comparisons to those Flying Nun Records legends are apt as Salad Boys favor a kind of ruminative alt-rock that features a lot of superb guitar-lines wrapped around a strong hook. The tunes on the band's new record, This is Glue, out Tomorrow on Trouble in Mind Records, are as engaging as those on earlier releases from this lot, so rest assured that the winning streak of Salad Boys is continuing, even as the band explores other avenues of sound.
Opener "Blown Up" channels stuff like Television, while the next 2 cuts -- the languid "Hatred" and the sharp "Psych Slasher" -- nod in the direction of David Kilgour and The Clean, and offer a neater approximation of early Hoodoo Gurus jams, respectively. There's so much here in the space of just 3 cuts that a listener can only marvel at how exceedingly excellent and consistent this band have remained. Salad Boys can really do no wrong as most of This is Glue is just as good. Elsewhere, stuff like "Right Time" and "In Heaven" suggest a lost team-up from Nirvana and Sonic Youth, while the punchier "Under The Bed" and "Scenic Route to Nowhere" blend stabs at a kind of C86-inspired approach to tunes that are very nearly examples of straightforward power-pop. Of course, there's something a bit undone here, and it's that sort of ramshackle charm that makes the songs of Salad Boys so memorable and affecting. If mellower numbers here like "Going Down Slow" indicate a softening of this band's sonic attack, the pleasures remain subtle and lingering ones as even the less obviously-catchy cuts on This is Glue succeed upon first listen.
A record that is more consistent than the band's last album, This is Glue is that rare release that possesses a bit of mystery and complexity even as it unveils pleasures that any listener can easily obtain. The most excellent kind of post-punk, the songs of Salad Boys are some of the best you're likely to hear in 2018.
[Photo: Brian Feary]
This is Glue is out tomorrow on Trouble in Mind Records.
More details on Salad Boys via the band's official Facebook page.