With every note and twist of invention soaked in drama and unpredictability, The Greenman EP from New Zealanders Salt provides one of the more fascinating and thrilling encounters of the year. Richly flavoursome and drawing on a vat of varied rock essences, with a just as tasty spicing of new wave and alternative rock, release and sound invite ears and imagination into a mischievous devilry which persuades like a mix of Wall Of Voodoo, Oingo Boingo, and Midnight Oil but with its own unique character. It is an adventure to light ears and thoughts, feet and emotions, and quite mouth-watering.
Formed in the latter part of 2010, Salt consists of vocalist/bassist/songwriter Brett McGuigan, keyboardist Rachael Jane, and guitarist Mike Nelson. The Christchurch trio awoke keen attention for their imaginative sound and presence through debut album Radio Station in 2012, a release also diverse in flavour and with rawer punkish tenacity to its creativity. Recorded with Thom O’Connor, The Greenman finds the band exploring more expansive and inventive pastures but still retaining the energy and vivacity which its predecessor expelled to fine effect.
Going to the Moon opens up the EP, a song which has already been heavily devoured around the internet from its initial unveiling. A sonic coaxing intrigues before making way for a feisty swagger of riffs and spicy keys, all within a punchy web of rhythms. The core temptation is soon completed by the appealing tones of McGuigan and accentuated by the tangy grooves and potent hooks which frequent the contagious encounter. Not quite space rock but with a definite spatial breath to its fluid melodies and inescapable catchiness, the song is a vibrant and captivating start to the EP.
The following Indiana Melancholy has a dour but no less riveting air to its prowl through ears. Slowly making its way across the senses with dramatic textures and expression vocally and musically, the track has the imagination absorbed and then inflamed with its inventive shadows and sonic exploration. Guitars and keys again provide thick colour to a powerful rhythmic canvas whilst extra theatre comes from the mystique fuelled grooves and sultry mix of lead and backing vocals across the band.
The EP’s title track takes over next, instantly bringing eighties new wave and melodic punk flavouring to an invigorating modern rock recipe. Insatiably addictive and fuelled by a slightly repetitive nature, the song swiftly draws an already greedy appetite into its seducing bait, tightening its grip with every anthemic call of vocals and virulence. Its commanding persuasion is matched by the outstanding Mad Situation, a track with a rhythmic enticing and carnivorous bassline to sell your soul for. As the second song, a darker landscape is explored but with an infectious toxicity just as habit forming as anything on the release. An infusion of post punk only adds to the strength and richest of narrative and sound, whilst the melodic poetry of guitars and keys highlight and shine upon the inimitable theatrical dark of the song.
The EP is concluded with the similarly sensational, Crossing the Highway, a creatively tenacious journey entwining wiry grooves around rhythmic sinews as flowing evocative melodies cast by the keys spread their curvaceous charm and seduction. The track is breath-taking, edging the others for best on show though all leave hunger for more and blissful satisfaction in their wake.
Salt is a band destined to steal hearts and spark imaginations, certainly on the evidence of the strikingly impressive and delicious exploits of The Greenman.
The Greenman EP is available now @ http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/salt42
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