Salad were one of the most underrated indie bands of the nineties. With one foot in the noisy indie camp – leading to more than one support slot with Carter USM – and the other within the Britpop family, their quirky lyrical concerns and melodic vocal phrases gave them the potential to be huge. Although the band never really rose above cult status, those who liked them absolutely adored them.
After throwing in the towel in the late 90s, Marijne and Paul reunited as Salad Undressed in 2016. A series of acoustic shows brought ragged fun and nostalgia, but never really suggested anything long term. The duo had other plans for future world domination, of course, and the album ‘Good Love Bad Love’ (recorded with a full band and released in 2018) exceeded all expectations, becoming one of the year’s best releases. More live shows followed and a further Salad album, ‘The Salad Way’, put the band firmly back on the map.
Like everybody else, Salad had their future plans derailed by the global pandemic, but they’re about to make good on the cancelled 2020 dates with an autumn tour. There are no plans for a new album, but a string of digital singles are awaiting the fans…
The first of these, ‘Things In Heaven’ is full of the old Salad goodness. Opening with a ascending scale and dark tone, the tune has a really ominous feel, and by the time Marijne starts to sing, the unsure melody grabs a hold of an almost gothic vibe. With the slightly jangly guitar contrasted by moody keyboard lines and fat bass sound, there are a couple of call backs to their past, but there’s plenty within the more mature sound that looks ever forward, and with Marijne’s dominant vocal showing more than a hint of influence from Curved Air’s Sonja Kristina, it’s a performance that flaunts Salad’s arty side more than ever before.
By the time Paul arrives to add a vocal harmony, there are gentle flashbacks to parts of the ‘Good Love Bad Love’ album, almost making ‘Things In Heaven’ sound like a moody counterpart to ‘Evergreen’. It’s a track that often seems to value moodiness over instant hooks, but Salad could never be accused of playing it safe or merely relying on past glories. Whatever you choose to take away from this track, there’s little doubt that after a year of hibernation, it creates a really interesting return.
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