Robo Jack 2023

Salish Rock

Out of the Gateway to San Juan Island and into the mainland, American collective try and find an aural color of their own.

If this platter’s title should serve as a geographical pointer set to locate its creators in Friday Harbor, no one will have any difficulty imagining insular ennui which the ensemble whose name refers to despair must feel most of the time. Factor in their sonics that hark back to the ’90s, and a picture of a worry-rippled parochial paradise seems complete – but there’s still something turning “Salish Rock” into a record where hope for the band’s bright future took seed. So while the Washington quartet’s debut album does seem a bit boring in the beginning, once the licks of titular instrumental, its centerpiece, come to the fore, the hooks are firmly buried under the listener’s skin, although whether its other songs can stand the test of patience is yet to be seen.

Opener “Record Store” might not do the trick – as the number’s pseudo-spatial audio fails to take its Britpop-esque nostalgia off the ground despite the realness of the lyrical sentiment and the foursome’s concert-like interplay – but the equally outdated AOR roll of “Deepest Garden” or “Arms Around You” just might, thanks to Tom Henry’s infectious guitar licks, and when the orchestral dynamics of the keening “Yesterday Was Long Ago” fly Daniel Day’s voice to the sky, there’s no doubt in this number’s ability to stay remembered. And then there’s the vibrant “Evanesce” which has genuinely raw emotions cut through quotidian quagmire, and the acoustically tinctured “Caution To The Wind” which has enough light Americana in its heart to endear everybody to the ensemble – unlike the riff-driven “Never Forget You” which will find generic balladry too cumbersome to move the crowd, until Darvis Taylor’s bass and Scott Sluis’ drums turn the flow towards the slider-oiled blues.

However, “Beautiful Sun” that soars from the warm a cappella intro to the ivories-rippled, polyphonic heaven must show the full extent of the band’s dramatic scope, with “The Artist” that springs from country strum to arena sway cinching the picture, and “Can We Learn To Love Again?” closing the album with an exquisite folksy flourish. This is where the quartet’s further routes are – the roads to spread their Salish rock around the world.


July 3, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *