Curiosity drew young hipsters, dandies and goths to see new Chicago indie kids SALEM at Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel because clearly they appreciated being dry-ice smoked out and plunged into near bleak whilst a soundwall of droney, depressing darkfuzz crumbled on top of them. If you listened closely, you could almost hear the crack of a thousand thick, black glasses frames.
It was a fine way to spend a Saturday night.
Not for the darkness and claustrophobic, withdrawal-itchy strobes that twitched to remind us there was a band on stage. That was not fun, no. Nor was the utterly un-present Heather Marlatt, staring into the pitch blankly – deadly – and sorta-singing too quietly into the mix. She was not fun.
So what was fun?
THIS was fun: The mashup of weird early Cure/goth, deep layered Korgs and effect box sounds, miles-away wailing, eerie wooshes from John Holland and the odd, dirtygroove rapping (rapping? What the fuck?) of Jack Donoghue amidst the thickness. This is parents-just-don’t-understand music, where goth and synths and hiphop have collided in parts, and it’s gross and you have to swim through crude oil find the melody. Which makes it fun. Okay, maybe not fun. But trippy. And kinda rad.
Not putting money down on a long and fruitful SALEM career, but if you ever believed Sartre on the whole “hell is other people” thing, then this just might be a good soundtrack for you. \m/
SALEM’s debut full-lengther is called King Night. Check ‘em out on MySpazz
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