Justin Saladino 2016
Ruffling many a feather with fiery riffs, young Montréaler gets real and stays cool.
It took Justin Saladino four years to bring forth his sophomore EP before proceeding to a full-length album and delivering a live recording afterwards, and the creative spurt the Canadian artist demonstrates here is tangible to say the least. Not content with keeping to sometimes restrictive structure of blues idiom, he dares to defy the genre’s rulebook and adds a frivolous level to the Delta-based foundation so, while the funky licks of “Ain’t Gunna Try” seem to frame a statement of sorts, the country-tinctured “Irish Bordello” becomes an immediate on-stage staple.
As a result, though the platter’s title track will offer the listener a languorous, slider-caressed shuffle, Justin’s deliberately deadpan, relaxed voice cocooning the twang of his strings, the rest of the cuts on display should pick up the momentum and get away with it, especially when Saladino unleashes a mellifluous solo or two per piece. Driven to deeper emotions by A.J. Aboud’s steady beat, he renders the organ-oiled “Confusion” as a hard-rock showcase, the number’s infectious riff fed into guitar-and-vocals unison, whereas the immensely catchy finale “Purple Girl” has a fine chug to it which was bound to land a blow to the languid blues scene of later years.
Why the wider world still didn’t embrace Justin Saladino as a savior remains a mystery but, given time, he must be globally recognized.