Welcome to the new underground
In the age of the internet, is anything still considered underground? It seems as if today anything can be unearthed in seconds: music, movies, novels and all forms of art are condemned to harsh lights of constant scrutiny. Few things are carefully guarded today; there are fewer secrets to keep. SALT is one of those secrets; it is the band you haven’t heard of but need to listen to. Yes, that last sentence still has meaning in 2019 and the world gleams with hope because of it.
If you do an online search of SALT’s debut record The Loneliness Of Clouds you will find little coverage, which is insane considering who is helming the Parisian near-super group. Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, REM, Big Star) is in good company with acclaimed psychedelic singer/songwriter Anton Barbeau and French musician Stéphane Schück. The record was a sort of happening event, with the trio linking throughout 2016 sessions for the Supercalifragile album by Game Theory at Abbey Road Studios in London. Three years later, SALT debuts a record too good to be kept a secret.
“A Song For Jerome” sets a sonic hurricane of varying textures into motion where the guitar chords that swirl throughout hypnotize thoroughly, chords played by Stringfellow and Schück. “Plastic Future Plans” has a hard ’80s new wave vibe to it, accented by the lively drumbeat of Stéphane’s old bandmate Benoit Lautridou. Fred Quentin—also Stéphane’s former bandmate—unleashes a stout bassline that drives the vibrant vocal harmonies and rousing riffs of “Eastern Colors” toward an atmospheric finish. “The G Words Of Your Life” closes the record with anthemic choruses from Barbeau and a slinky guitar solo that is as bizarrely delicious as the project itself.
The songs all have a tinge of alt-pop to them; the hooks are so remarkably catchy. The lyrics—written by Schück—were translated by Barbeau from French’d English into something easier to understand. The Loneliness Of Clouds has a feel of adventure to it: recorded both at Abbey Road Studios and Paris, and boasting talented musicians eager to create for the sake of creating, the record is as bold as it gets in 2019. The dialogues that play at the beginning of some of the tracks will tickle the fancy of history buffs.
SALT’s record is an example of the only type of underground we have left in the internet age: an album not heavily promoted, by world-class musicians that you may only know of if you know somebody who knows somebody. The Loneliness Of Clouds is the kind of album you can be proud to say you listened to first, and that is something to treasure.