How NOT to write about music – 25. Salad

Salad The Selfishness of Love

I have long noticed the debilitating effect time and distance have upon my critical facilities.

A few years back, my resistance to 1980s soft rock finally crumbled and  – freed of the encumbrance of tribal allegiances, Mod style and distaste towards the male form (this is a lie) – I spent many a happy month wallowing in the sounds of Foreigner, Rainbow, Boston and Ellen Foley. I say ‘happy’ but as these months coincided with the start of the divorce process, you will have to imagine the myriad emotions associated with the description. Some could argue that my fondness for Nirvana’s Nevermind was rooted in a similar musical love but I ain’t having that. My fondness for Nirvana in the early 1990s was absolutely rooted in a sense of identity. There has been a gradual shifting and erosion of my identity in recent years, from one rooted in a more belligerent defensive template – witness the way I would get up on stage to swear floridly at strangers in the 1980s at a time when I could not even look friends in the eye – to one which is… I wouldn’t say comfortable (I have never been comfortable in my own skin) and I hotly deny any charges of ‘given up’ (to such an extent that I start to worry)… not so eager to defend lines that to all intents and purposes were imaginary in the first place.

There again, life itself is a construct.

Last night, I found myself enjoying the rasped R.E.M. sounds of Minneapolis’ Soul Ayslum over the closing credits of Clerks (another media that has accrued emotional pull for me over time). The debut Soul Ayslum album was OK I recall, being in thrall to the same thrall Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth and pals were in thrall to, but not by this point – surely?

Whatever.

I will even listen to Supertramp and Kate Bush these days.

So, Salad then. A band that passed me by, back in the early 1990s. Don’t think I disliked them, just didn’t notice them. There was too much other stuff going on. (Alcohol and blagging and self-pity, mostly.) Perhaps if they’d grown to be as big as Echobelly I would have ended up interviewing them, but… they occupied a similar place as Sleeper and… duh. No idea. Dubstar? If they’d lived in Brighton maybe we’d have been mates but they didn’t so we weren’t. Probably preferred Frantic Spiders but then, old territorial me would say that, wouldn’t he?

Not anymore. These days, it is highly possible I do not expose myself to even 5% of the music I once did (this alters my perceptions) but damn this new song sounds great. Sparky and nervous and full of slightly restrained energy and belting harmonies and a BIG CHORUS… if I had heard it without knowing the name, I’d have gone for it sure. A little bit Pulp perhaps. A little bit Aussie. Some menace, some beautiful grating guitar, not old and cantankerous even though that’s the way many of us turn, but alive and alert to the possibilities of love… goddamn it, meant to type life there but love makes more sense anyhow.

Where are we now? This is silly-good catchy. This is Elastica good. Also, it reminds me of my long-term Worthing sweethearts La Mômo… and that makes me happy. Don’t know why the following is only a short preview, but why the fuck not. First new stuff since 1997 apparently, but … uh … not that I’d know it. So catchy I wanna go back and listen to the old shit, see if I did miss something first time round.

I’m just happy to be here.

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