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Album Review

Drawing upon the orchestral, wind instrument-driven sound of such '60s institutions as the Brill Building and Motown Records, lead singer Scott Walker and his band the Salteens have crafted a natural, moody piece of '60s pop on 2010's Grey Eyes. Moving away from the alternative indie pop sound of 2003's Let Go of Your Bad Days, Grey Eyes is an organic, beautifully produced large-ensemble pop album that is as sweetly melodic as it is introspective. Still exuding a shiny optimism that touches on '80s college rock and '90s twee pop, the Salteens have nonetheless expanded their palette here to include such supergraphic-era instruments as flutes, baritone saxophones, flügelhorns, and trumpets. To these ends, you get the driving leadoff track "Last Train from London" and several superb rainy-day ballads à la Burt Bacharach, including the epic midtempo yearner "You're Taking All of This Too Far." Elsewhere, the propulsive, xylophone-inflected "Go On" features a huge trumpet/choir midsection, and "You Stayed Up with the Lights On" is a definite foot-tapper. Ultimately, by the time the heart-wrenching album closer "Don't Break My Heart" arrives, with its symphonic bowed bass tugging against Walker's sweet lyrical croon, it’s clear that Grey Eyes isn't just something new for the Salteens, it's a kind of masterpiece.


Formed: 1997 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Vancouver indie pop combo the Salteens were formed in the spring of 1997 by singer/guitarist Scott Walker, bassist/vocalist Megan Bradfield, and drummer Dion Willis. After just two live dates, the group won a local battle of the bands contest, and with the addition of keyboardist Patrick Brealey, the Salteens signed to the local Endearing label to issue their debut LP, Short-Term Memories, in the spring of 2000. Let Go of Your...
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Grey Eyes, Salteens
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