This three piece indie rock group from Christchurch are getting more and more attention as news of their self-titled debut ripples through the ear canals of happy music lovers. The fact that it is downloadable for free/koha is just a frighteningly good bonus. UTR caught up with band leader, Joe Sampson, who explained that alongside his work with T54 and Dance Asthamatics, he managed to set up DYI label Melted Ice Cream and have more than enough material for yet another band. But Salad Boys are not a cutting room floor of wasted extras. This debut shows that Sampson has some of the longest sleeves in NZ music in which to keep ideas up.
Opening with lazy instrumental number, ‘Eighteen Forty Four’, the end of the track explodes with rhythm and raucousness and the sound crystallises in a dramatic peak. It’s from here that the band’s sharp and deft guitar work announces itself. The second song, ‘Dream Date’ swings in with pace while vocalist, Sampson, hides among the complex layering of his guitar. It is the pick of the album and delights in its energy, scraping edges and depth.
What continues to work on this album is the dexterity in which the band maneuvers. An indie charmer like ‘I’m a Mountain’ sits alongside the rockabilly beat of ‘Daytime Television’ and cute pop risings of ‘Here’s No Use’ while the band’s core style is never compromised. There is a sweeping feel on this album that grabs together the strands of instruments like a mother collecting together her children and brings them together cohesively.
Inklings of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. are evident in the crunchy ‘Better Pickups’ and it’s a sound the Salad Boys have executed with precision, in that it sounds so imprecise. It’s a sound that grinds in places; it shirks around the pop hooks, never exposing them to their fullest. Really it’s a sound of beautiful restraint coupled with sonic expansion. Put simply, it’s a delight.