One listen to Sälen is like flicking through a WhatsApp exchange between two ex-lovers. Insults fly from one side to the other, and words are most definitely not minced. This is what makes the London trio so charming – their brutal honesty, aka a perfect antidote to the vague, emotionless tropical house tracks clogging up your New Music Friday playlist.
With ‘Heartbreak Diet’, vocalist Ellie Kamio is on brilliantly cutting form. “I used to dream of dying so you would cry at my funeral” is the first of her confessions, backed by an old school hip-hop production aesthetic. From one golden hook to the next, she essentially equates old flames with those soggy bits of crisps that get lodged in your molars. “I am done with sticky people / They’re too hard to pick out of my teeth.” Talk about a damning comparison.
There are traditional break-up anthems – full of remorse, regret and defiance, spilled out over soppy pianos and mournful vocals – and then there’s the kind of Sälen are producing. ‘Heartbreak Diet’ follows the footsteps of ‘Diseasey’, ‘The Drwg’ and ‘Copper Kiss’ – three equally astute takes on a messy love life. This might be their best moment yet, though.
Salen will play London Electrowerkz on Tuesday March 14.