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Outside In(fluence): Salad Boys - "This Is Glue"

Salad Boys is a band with a cool name that I came across in my electronic travels through the internet one day. They had just recently released an album called This Is Glue on January 19th, but I couldn't review it right away due to other commitments. Also, since Salad Boys are from Christchurch, New Zealand, this review had to be for the international review series Outside In(fluence); here it is.

The cover to This Is Glue looks like, well, glue. Paint and glue all grey mixed, maybe there is a whale on a beach looking rather upset. Are there clouds, a black creature soaring in from the right, some infernal sky shark grown from a hell womb in a fiery mountain? It's all sloshed up confusion, grey matter and mist, dreams and death and nothing at all. This Is Glue.

The first track on This Is Glue is "Blown Up". It starts kinda plain, with an electronic bass sound, but things pick up with energetic fuzz guitar. I don't understand what the song is about, but the lyrics are not muffled in any way. The second track is "Hatred", a song that sounds like The Bats or The Chill, that classic Flying Nun Records sound. There is a very nice guitar solo on here, long and winding. The lyrics are beautiful and not subtle - "If I could ever be under you would you enjoy me?" The next song, "Psych Slasher", sounds like The Jesus and Mary Chain with it's dark and self-critical lyrics of madness and despair. That name is a great play on words. Though it is a very energetic, dancey track, the way that the singing drops off at the end of each verse is fittingly unnerving to the theme. "Right Time" goes back to jangling territory, almost hitting country. I have to really focus to understand the words here; the vocals are quiet, muffled, and overshadowed by instrumentation. I'm sure that the band's accent doesn't help me much either. I like the musick quite a bit. "Choking Sick" opens with the phrase, "little fucker", which I find mildly hilarious. The song is fast with repeating lyrics about kids doing things they shouldn't. It seems somewhat sympathetic but critical of said children. "Exaltation" is the last track on the first side, going back to that "Smoking Her Wings" sound from earlier. Again, the lyrics are harder to make out, but the way they are done, they have a mystical quality. This is some kind of dreamworld, occupied by The Cure, R.E.M., The Church, and other post-punkers and dream-poppers. It reminds me of the first band ever got into, the pillows. This is one of my favorites on the album.

The second side of This Is Glue opens with "In Heaven", which I don't like that much. It still has that airy sound, but the lyrics are not very intricate or interesting, plain words without much punch or pop. The chorus bugs me - "But you're not buried yet, so just play dead." The incredibly fuzzy, almost plush, guitar is beautiful at the end. The guitar solo also turns this around, making it almost an epic or something. I wish the rest was better. "Under the Bed" seems almost formless to me, though I think it's just me having trouble hearing and understanding the lyrics. I like the warbling guitar. "Dogged Out" has a scrunched up, wide-open sound, a song wearing a scarf out on a cold hillside. I like this one a lot with its simple lyrics, synth or string sounds, and clattering drums. "Scenic Route to Nowhere" is the third to last track, a Beatles sound of surreal adventures outside and inside. The circus guitars make this one especially strange, almost like Pink Floyd's "Corporal Clegg". I really like this one, another favorite. Next to last is "Going Down Slow", a cinematic piece of sad gloom, Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. This is a bittersweet something or other, epic by means of strings and despair, an ending theme of some future film. We're all stuck in glue sometimes. "Divided" is the final track, opening with an awesome hollow and fuzzy bass(?). The lyrics seem familiar to me, just getting out of a dark depression and failures that cling to the skin like static'd plastic. The electric singing of some strange tones as the song closes ensures that this chant carries through to the end. It's a beautiful song.

This Is Glue is just like it sounds like. It's a sure downer, but it is a bright and dancing and loud and epic downer. Everything works perfectly together, the title, the cover art, and the songs. Though the lyrics are at times subpar, they fit the tone and are sometimes brilliant. The instruments glide along in the clouded sky; sometimes they are the clouds, sometimes the bright blue. I really liked this album overrall. This Is Glue receives a Good.