This Is Glue by Salad Boys

Release date: January 19, 2018
Label: Trouble In Mind Records

Since the early Eighties, practically any New Zealand band has been lumped under the title Flying Nun sound. That usually meant you either were or sounded like The Chills, The Clean or The Bats, three of the probably most prominent Flying Nun label mates. That usually signified that people had a hard time pigeonholing the sound of the bands coming from the island, itself a combination of various influences filtered from through the eyes (or ears, to be more precise) of the musicians from the island. There was also the fact that the bands recording for Flying Nun, had as a diverse sound as any, think for example the heavier sounds of Bailter Space or the quirky classical overtones of The Verlaines.

So what shall we do then with Salad Boys and their sophomore album This Is Glue? They are not on Flying Nun, but are from Christchurch, one of the musical hotbeds in New Zealand. Oh, but they can definitely fit under the above moniker of Flying Nun sound since that actually covers quite a lot of musical ground. And, personally, that is not a good thing. It’s a brilliant thing!

You see, Salad Boys under the helm of bandleader Joe Sampson come up with that jangly, mostly quite uptempo tunes (the opener “Blow Up”, “Scenic Route To Nowhere” or “Choking Sick”) filled with ringing guitars (electric and acoustic), vocal harmonies and some quite downer, acerbic lyrics that somehow fit perfectly into the sound. Yes, you can hear The Chills, The Bats, but also “far away” bands like Feelies and Yo La Tengo, and the Salad Boys sound is all the better for it.

Even when the music approaches the familiar The Chills territory (“Exaltation”), you don’t really care, because you get the impression that this is exactly what you want to hear, the sound that’s been missing for a while. It just seems to come naturally to this trio. In the slower tracks like “In Heaven” you can get a better insight into Sampson’s dark-toned visions, but he makes you swallow them with ease with his knack for a good strum and melody.

The whole album has a certain ebb and flow and not a single track that would give you a feeling that it doesn’t belong there, making This Is Glue an album that can easily stick on your player (whatever form it has). It was at my place. For quite a while.

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