is nothing more heartening for a rock 'n' roll reviewer than to be able to follow
the careers of musicians from much-loved but sadly defunct bands as they continue
to live the dream and create new music. Hard working Cardiff based pop rockers
SAL contain within their ranks two members who have left behind the ghosts of
a thousand local rock legends in the hope of finding success with a contemporary
sound in the rapidly evolving world of music. Guitarist and founding member
Noog played guitar in legendary metal act Wild Pussy off-shoot RELIGION, and
supremely monikered drummer Denley Calais Slade provided the bare chested backbeat
for the infamous (or should that read 'un-famous' ?) Welsh sleaze rock teen
titanz SISTER MORPHINE who, if not for their love of hallucinogenic's and Yoko
Ono, would surely have staggered out of the gutter and taken the world by storm.
Like Slave Raider.
Recently released five track EP 'INFATUATION' is the follow up to the Greg Haver (who seems to get name-checked with alarming regularity in Glitzine reviews - no doubt due to his one-time association with M.I.A. vocal icon RJ Hall) produced debut album 'DYSFUNCTIONAL'. Smartly wrapped in cover art that gives a subtle nod to the interpolated rotoscoping animation process (Jeez, I am such a geek!) utilized in Richard Linklater's big screen adaptation of Philip K. Dick's cult tale of drug abuse A Scanner Darkly, 'INFATUATION' sees production duties now being handled by former Skunk Anansie six stringer Ace, whose thirst to capture Sal's "rockier live sound" appears to have been quenched.
EP opener "In Love", with its chugging guitar and 'whoa-whoa' refrain is a perfect tone setter as it pretty much sums up Sal in just over three minutes. "Make It On Her Own" lies on an unmade bed of drum loops and shifts from brooding ballad to guitar-heavy rocker with ease. Third track "September" sees the band really kickstart their record into life - catchy and possessing some much needed edge, this would be the stand out cut if next track "Goodbye" didn't gatecrash the party and attempt to wrestle that award from its grasp. Big and bold, these two tracks are the now the benchmark for the band. Closer "Dreaming" is perhaps the closest Sal gets to reminding the listener of producer Ace's previous band. And it is with this link to Skunk Anansie that my only complaint about Sal takes root. Vocalist Cat is in possession of a huge voice and looks like she could turn the raging hormones of a club gig's front rows into her slaves with the merest click of her fingers but... she is just a little too nice! Using the vocalist from Skunk Anansie as a convenient comparison, Skin is remembered as much for her attitude as her massive voice and this, coupled with her striking image, was probably the reason that someone took a chance on her band, giving them that all-important foothold in the business. Cat is a little like buying a Motorhead t-shirt in Top Shop at the moment - she needs to get edgy. Without this Sal could find themselves treading water in a profession long tainted by liars and cheats, and bands who tread water ultimately drown - Sal are not deserving of this.
By Gaz E.
Visit the SAL website