LABEL: ROADRUNNER RECORDS
WORDS: GEORGIA RAWSON
Earlier this year we saw Creeper rise as one of the UK’s most diverse bands, taking the lead from punk to theatrical sounds, to even sighting the likes of 80s pop on their sophomore record, Sex, Death And The Infinite Void, but this left an itch that was still to be fulfilled.
Upon announcing his duo project, Salem, a name extremely well suited for the British thin black duke, the UK seemed to erupt for Wil Ghould the same way it did circa 2015. Wasting no time in restoring nostalgia that even cites the same sounds as Will’s former band, Our Time Down Here, this short but sickly sweet EP really gives us all a moment to reflect on the better times, times of South coast house shows, lock ins at Southampton’s Joiners, and walking back through the city in the dark to stay awake until the early hours listening to R.E.M.
“IT IS OBVIOUS THAT SALEM HAVE COME TO CLAIM THIS NEW AGE OF VAMPRIC PUNK AS THEIR OWN…”
Even if a British tinged nostalgia isn’t the first thing you take from the record, Ghould’s ability as a lyricist holds up beautifully and intellectually at times within the record. As we all face even more uncertainty in our coming adult years, Salem is an honest reflection on the romantics of your early 20’s, and with it the powerful escapism found in even more uncertain love. Throat is a punk love song that will hold against the likes of Alkaline Trio’s Every Thug Needs A Lady, creating an anthemic chorus that is suited for both the most intimate and public moments of relationships, from the bedroom to the concert halls. Comedy is laced within the lyrical content in a tongue and cheek manner that falls nothing short of genius one liners laced together to form memorable anthems. “Boy you look like death but healthy guys are such an eyesore,” being a particular stand out hook of the EP, an almost perfect description of the modern punk generation.
“If AFI became a household name with Sing The Sorrow, and Alkaline Trio with My Shame Is True, then Salem haven’t had to wait the decades to join them…”
It takes decades sometimes for an artist to find their niche, let alone their own signature sound, but within the short debut EP it becomes obvious that Salem are here to claim this new brand of vampiric post punk as their own. A refreshingly new take on the early 00’s riotous, yet poppy records that made the likes of AFI household names via MTV2 exposure, Salem cries out that we must all once more remember that there are still moments to come, delivering a momentary form of escapism that is almost so overwhelming that you can’t help but hit replay, and remind yourself how the confides of your bedroom are just as good of a place to dance, sing along at the top of your lungs, and fully delve into music just as much as the club venues.
If AFI became a household name with Sing The Sorrow, and Alkaline Trio with My Shame Is True, then Salem haven’t had to wait the decades to join them, for this EP, and this debut, is the forgery of yet another incredible band that the British punk scene will proudly claim.