The Salient Braves are the conduit for the efforts of long-standing Barnsley songwriter, Matt Bailey, and are described on their obligatory Facebook page as ‘purveyors of tuneful, lo-fi indie pop’. ‘Somewhere Sordid’ is their latest 5-track E.P. From the first word (which, in the interest of a comprehensive review, is ‘why’), the influences peep through; Half Man Half Biscuit, Echo and The Bunnymen and The Fall are all winked at with open affection. The overall sound harks back to when the less lauded (but certainly no less important) bands relied on the more discerning (and, in many cases, socially awkward) music aficionado to propagate their offerings in the form of 6th generation cassettes.
I think John Peel would have been all over ‘Somewhere Sordid’. The (and I hate the term) post-punk, DIY sound occasionally gives way to smatterings of brass (‘I’m Alright Now’) or knowingly John Shuttleworth-esque keys (‘Chance’) that really pop out and aren’t just there to pad out (as is too often so) – they definitely add something smiley to the E.P. On the literary front, given the lyrical influences (Nigel Blackwell, Mark E. Smith) Matt Bailey’s songs expectedly stay away from the usual ‘she’s ace/she’s leaving me, the slag’ horseshit; almost flippant comments on mental illness (‘…it’s no picnic when you’re out to lunch’) and religion (‘I joined a cult and I’m alright now’) give the impression of a very thoughtful, witty and original songwriter. ‘The Salient Braves’, despite having being at it a while, are a breath of fresh air, and ‘Somewhere Sordid’ is a lickle gem. Fans of lyric-led alternative (in the truest form of the word) guitar pop should seek them out, either live on one of those new fangled CD jobbies.
Words by Emanuel Shadrack.
If you want to find out more about The Salient Braves, then follow their facebook page and check out some of their older tracks on their bandcamp page.
‘Somewhere Sordid’ will be released via Duffle Coat Records on Mon, Oct 14th.