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Reinventing Punctuation

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Album Review

Perhaps it was never Salako's intention to dent the downbeat electro-pop market in the way bands such as Lemon Jelly and Röyskopp have, and on evidence of this first release the group's approach isn't as is fine-tuned as acts in that genre. Maybe it's the sound of a band trying to be too clever, or the use of programming isn't as accomplished as others', but what is apparent is that you're dealing with a band that has a clear premise of what constitutes a concept album — fans of Beck's Mutations would be in agreement. That absurd notion that you've heard something before, even without having done so, is brought through on opening tracks "Each One Unique," "Words Are Not Useful," and the single "Growing Up in the Night," while song titles "Sunburst" and "Glass-Bottom Boat Rides" invoke a summery feel that befits the album musically. Group member Luke Barwell is a one-man band in terms of his input on this release. He scopes the majority of the album's course with his mastering of the drum machine and use of loops, contrasting with the omnipresent acoustic guitar and James Waudby's indie pop vocals. The finished product is a largely pleasant portion of sunshine pop intended to lift your mood. If that doesn't transpire, be prepared to be consumed by wacky lyrics or novel sound effects, if that's your thing. How about Simon & Garfunkel bonding with Stereolab, or Kraftwerk meets Badly Drawn Boy? With 20 tracks, there's something to suit everyone, especially if you're familiar with fellow Jeepster acts Belle & Sebastian or Snow Patrol. Intriguing, if only for its ambition.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Starting as a bedroom recording project, England's Salako began casually in 1995, recording in drummer Luke Barwell's bedroom, with guitarists David Langdale and James Waudby, drummer Luke Barwell, and friend Stu on bass. The band's light, wistful sound appealed instantly to fans of international indie pop. Barwell moved to bass guitar in 1997, and Stu changed to keyboards. Thomas Spencer joined the group on drums. The band soon drew the interest of England's Jeepster Records. After some unimpressive...
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Reinventing Punctuation, Salako
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