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Album Review

On its sophomore release, Musicality, Salako created a 17-song mini epic full of indie pop surprises. From the opening jangly guitar line of the first track, "The Bird and the Bag," an eclectic blend of sounds is offered by the emerging British pop band. The blissful singalong on "Come! Follow Me" gives way to "Truth in Me," which features handclaps, a structured bassline, and dancing vocals. "Arts and Crafts" includes precise high-pitched singing and downplayed instrumentation. "Devil's Feet Lullaby" was one of the first tracks written for Musicality after the completion of the band's debut album, Reinventing Punctuation. Yet it was one of the last tracks to be fully recorded, complete with John Taylor on guest flute. The majestic and playful "Look Left" features a 200-member choir at the song's end. The choir's part was recorded in February 1999 at England's Sutton Methodist Church. "Look Left" is, not coincidentally, followed by the uplifting "Look Right." "Maybe We Will Find the Divine Cult" includes five guitars, cello, trumpet, Mellotron flute, and a Jew's harp. The combination creates an inventive and experimental musical atmosphere. The acoustic guitar instrumental "Finger Exercise No. 1" is followed by layers of vocals, synthesizer, and guitar on "The Cult of Winter." "I'll Be There (When You're Down)" is a festive track featuring a revolving musical pace. The disc comes to a close with the closest thing to a title track, "Magicality." A gorgeous instrumental opens the song, followed by James Waudby's sentimental vocals and a series of nonsense vocals at the end. The British quartet of Waudby, Luke Barwell, David Langdale, and Thomas Spencer were joined on Musicality by a trio of guest musicians: Marissa Claughan, Martin Jones, and John Taylor. The album was recorded in New Yorkshire and mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. Opting not to record in traditional recording studios, the songs on Musicality were recorded in a bedroom, on the beach, in a supermarket, in a church, and in a newsstand where one of the bandmembers worked. The group recorded 57 tracks for the album, and eventually cut it down to 17 tracks. Jeepster released the disc in 1999.


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...
Full bio

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