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Old Salts - EP Review: Stories Told by the Sea

29 Sep 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Alt rockers Old Salts hail from the shores of Bream Bay, Northland, and features John Buckle (lead vocals, guitar) Scott Brown (lead guitar, BV) Marcus Jones (bass, BV), and Lucas Hargreaves (drums, BV). This four-track EP contains three previously released singles plus the new one, Casual Smoker, which they describe as being reminiscent of Barry Manilow meets RHCP. I may not be too sure of that description to be honest, but at the very least it shows a sense of humour and a band not out to take themselves too seriously. From the band name I expected a group of wizened old folkies, but instead what we have is a band who are rock based but bringing in lots of influences to create something which is immensely listenable.

They strike me as a classic NZ rock band like Dragon, who write good songs with interesting lyrics without ever pushing too hard into any other genre so while they are not too heavy there are some interesting guitar solos and dual runs, plus there are also some feelings of 80’s Manchester in their indie style, all wrapped up with some pop like melodies with nice hooks. They have also resisted the temptation to go for a polished sound, so at times this is quite raw with plenty of space within the arrangement which gives it a nice naïve edge. The drums strike a balance between sitting back and driving forward, while the bass is often the driving force which allows the guitars to be more nuanced as opposed to riffing.

The lyrics are very clever indeed, and once one starts paying attention to them, they very much become the focal point as they are putting together loads of different ideas. Casual Smoker has a lovely steel drum solo (how often can you say that about a rock song?), but there are also some crunching riffs which makes the whole thing quite psychotic in an endearing manner. Contrast that to Itchy Feet which is away more driving and has much more of a power pop/post punk feel to it that is full of life and energy. There is a fresh feel about this, an energy which is inviting, with each song quite different in approach to the last, all held together by the lyrics and John’s vocals. It is a load of fun, ripe for the summer, and one can imagine their gigs to be a blast from start to finish. The sound is rounded and real, and I am sure we are going to be hearing a lot more from these guys.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Old Salts

Old Salts are an alternative rock band who are set to leave an impression with the release of their debut single Take a Breather due out on 21-01-2022.
The song will be one of four singles released off their forthcoming EP Stories told by the Sea.

Take a Breather is an enthusiastic drinking song which also references taking a break so there's a lot of space for interpretation of lyrics. Take a Breather is seasoned with influences from Primus and Them Crooked Vultures and has more rawness and grit than their upcoming releases. Each of four songs on the upcoming EP fall within the parameters of alt rock, from serious to satire, moody rock ballads to angsty rock anthems. There is an assortment of goodies rich in vitamins to sustain any listeners tastes and dietary needs. Take a Breather will wet the whistle and leave you wanting more.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Old Salts


Stories Told By The Sea
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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