Christchurch's Salad Boys return to build on the foundations laid by their 2015 debut Metalmania and opening track ‘Blow Up’ kicks things off well with plenty of pace, thrashing riffs and welcome vocal clarity.
Despite its title a softer approach is in evidence on ‘Hatred’ and from there on in this is the level things remain at - pacy, cheery, guitar-led indie of a pleasingly straightforward variety.
‘Exaltation’, song number six, introduces a satisfying amount of jangle to the musical mix as well. Salad Boys’ sound certainly fits in well with that of their exalted fellow countrymen in the historic ranks of the Flying Nun label, whilst possessing the modern edge fitting to their being on Trouble In Mind.
Overall the band capture a strong sense of the indie sound of the late Eighties/early Nineties as filtered through the atmosphere of New Zealand. As a result there are many musical touchstones from the eras which had in turn informed that not so distant past (‘Going Down Slow’ certainly brings Pink Floyd to mind). Like the best of such works though this is adamantly not an exercise in nostalgia – Salad Boys are carving out their own niche, thanks very much.
For all that the musical elements of This Is Glue are in the main pretty jaunty Joe Sampson’s vocals & lyrics root the work as a whole to a more introspective place, thereby striking a realistic balance between the high and the low & in the process furnishing us with a record which should stand the test of time well.
Beginning the year with a dozen tracks of this quality sets a yardstick which many a band will fall well short of as 2018 progresses and it can only be hoped that when those reviewers who bother to compile list at the end of it do so their memories stretch all the way back to the start.