Arts & Culture

HEAVY SALAD: A fresh flavourful debut for 20205 min read

HEAVY SALAD will release their eponymous conceptual debut Cult Casual on September 25, an album that delves deep into ideas of finding your own reality in the modern era.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Heavy Salad work in the space between perceived reality and the abyss of your mind. Melt yourself!” This is the motto of the relatively new Manchester psych pop band: a three-piece group consisting of Alan Hutchison, Lee Mann and Rob Glennie. Each member has an interesting musical biopic, which makes for a wider array of genres that HEAVY SALAD are able to comfortably explore. And, like a good salad ought to, the trio bring a lot of flavour to the table.

Photograph: Sonic PR
Loose Concepts

HEAVY SALAD has indeed sourced new flavours for their upcoming debut album Cult Casual through the medium of many genres; jazz, rock, britpop, folk and psychedelia to name a few. Lead singer Mann describes the album as a “concept LP”, explaining that “lyrically, it’s an exploration of the experience of modern reality, it feels like the LP exists for this exact moment in time, we can’t wait for people to hear it!”

Death

The first track on the album carries the title of one you’d expect to be at the end of an album – but it just furthers the album’s idea of life having no set paths for any individual. The track itself is very Damon Albarn – the drums being reminiscent of early Gorillaz and the instrumentation and vocals of the quirkier Blur tracks, notably with the spaced out feel of the guitar and vocals during the verses. The chorus also carries that heavier Blur-esque quality to it. A very strong first track to the album.

Battery Acid

A few very catchy relaxed guitar riffs keep this light and daydreamy song ablaze as the second track on the album, and it carries with it a perfect summary aura throughout its 4.01 run time. It certainly has a similar nostalgic feel to it as many summery Britpop tunes, perhaps of The Strokes or Dodgy’s Staying Out For The Summer.  

The Wish

A heavier, more rock-focused tune which uses staccato style vocals in the verses. It achieves a punk-esque sound over the AM-inspired backing. The chorus kicks in and is reminiscent of the Foo Fighters sound, which is a great transition from the verses. Overall, it’s a very good track from the album. 

Inner Visions

Another solid pop rock track, with a very catchy riff similar to Blur, it also has the sound of Fontaines D.C. A solid track about feeling stuck in life.  

Reverse Snake

Maybe my favourite track from the album. From the grungy guitar intro to the reverb lavished verses and chorus, the song gives a sense of chaos and unease all while keeping the track very tight and focused. Goes a bit Kaiser Chiefs at one point, which just furthers how capable the band is at capturing sounds. Of course, it includes a guitar solo too, as all good songs do. 

High Priestess

Distorted piano in the introduction gives the song an instantly dark tone, and this continues through it. With the song staying in the minor key, it’s one of the slower, more melancholy tracks from the album. 

This Song Is Not About Lizards

A continuation of the tone from the previous tune, this still rides the melancholic wave from verse to verse. Echoing lyrics and backing vocals give the track a haunting quality, and, combined with the stabbing and sharp guitar sounds, it makes for a killer song that gives the sense of going slightly insane.

Routine Dream

This song didn’t really do it for me. It has a marching quality to the drums and guitar, and it marches on sensibly from verse to verse. Still, it is a solid sounding and one of the shorter tracks from the album. 

Slow Ride

A pleasant change up with the tone, as if the protagonist has come out of the mid album stupor from the last few tracks. The lyrics put across a rose-tinted situation of slow riding down the coast, and it is emphasised from the dreamy echoing guitar sounds and midway through from the sweet-sounding guitar solo. A happy and innocent track, and a welcomed change from the last few. 

It’s OK To Bleed

The final track, and a great send off to the album. Its theme rounds off the album’s poignant message of ‘life doesn’t have a set path’. It’s more of a slow rock track and carries the listener softly to the end of the album. The guitar is on form again, and the drums echo an Oasis style throughout. Towards the end all the parts come together in unison and then dissipate, to finish the album.

Final critique

Overall, this is a very strong album that has good overarching themes. Their inspirations and sound are clear – with a big emphasis on the Britpop and 90s rock sound throughout the album. Personal favourites of mine were Battery Acid and Reverse Snake, both tracks being in the first half of the album. The album lost my interest in the middle as I didn’t connect with the tracks as much. Despite this, the album still ended on a strong note with It’s OK To Bleed.

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