Bloody irritating. That is how Salako have chosen to portray themselves in their whimsical interviews and fanciful press releases about cream cakes and farm animals ...

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Hated In The Nation

Product:

Hated In The Nation

BLOODY IRRITATING. THAT IS HOW SALAKO HAVE chosen to portray themselves in their whimsical interviews and fanciful press releases about cream cakes and farm animals. Juvenile Rag Week humour meets amateur psychedelic wackiness. Cheers.

Which is all the more baffling because, crikey, this is a great record. Twenty tracks of wibbling lo-fi Olde English post-techno balladry with scarcely a duffer in earshot. For rough reference purposes, imagine a Humberside-based Gorky’s incorporating featherlight Beach Boys harmonies, Beck on percussion and Syd Barrett shouting ideas through from his potting shed.

Averaging about two minutes apiece, these tunes are mostly fragments of pastoral verse melded to mismatched musical elements with breezy ease. ‘Each One Unique’, for instance, manages to marry a ‘Firestarter’-strength drum riff and an elastic ‘Taxman’ bassline to a characteristically loopy meander through vocalist James’ free-floating mind. Elsewhere we find sobbing seagulls, garbled street conversation, fizzing radio interference and shameless space-rock melodies tumbling across the horizon like clouds.

If they relaxed their tricksy agenda, Salako would make terrific folk-pop balladeers. Take current single, ‘Growing Up In The Night’, a beautifully wistful ditty which calls to mind – in the nicest possible way – Roy Harper in, ooh, about 1971. While ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ wouldn’t shame Evan Dando’s prime-time songbook.

On the strength of this dreamy debut, Salako are the sort of people who could get away with playing euphoniums and sporting handlebar moustaches. So if you want top-draw ’90s psychedelia with heavenly tunes, you can find it here, punting along a sun-dappled river under a sky of pharmaceutical blue.