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SALT - Fairytale On Fire - ALBUM REVIEW


Fairytale On Fire

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Credit - Graham Macindoe

The indie punk scene is blowing up. Artists from all over the underground are breaking through well-trodden asphalt, watching it turn to dust and crumble around them as they forge a new sound and a new wave of post-punk. One of these artists is SALt whose 2022 album, ‘Fairytale on Fire’, boasts a punk core with pop frills and funk influence throughout. It's upbeat, it's manic, but it has ditched that sullen and depressive vibe that is synonymous with classic punk. No - here, the vibe is light, it's get on your feet, its party, it's run. The energy within these tracks is phenomenal and it is an experience to listen to ‘Fairytale on Fire’ in just one sitting. After an hour of buzzing punk rock, you stand up, fizzy and ready for the day. Almost too ready, punk-ing ready.

The album opens, SALt, bright colours, wondrous stories and heady bass lines. ‘Halo’ comes into view in the distance, the bass leading it in, chitters in the back rise up before the drums break into song. The vocals bleed through the ether with the guitars in tow slashing ska style and hitting the vibe. The vocal is high, bright and cuts through the warbling sound like acid. It's refreshing in an alarming way, in a way that screams not punk, but new punk. This feeling will become familiar to you as the album goes on. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, but you’re always on a rollercoaster. It is adrenalin-fuelled, even in the slow bits.

The album is melodic in the back as most punk isn’t. In that way, it feels like funk rock and it's a brilliant mix. Songs like ‘Boxcar’, ‘Tumbleweed’ and ‘Dust’ are built around this rotating and jiving bass hook. Each time it's different in vibe, in tone, buts it's always there for the instrumental to latch onto. It gives a great contrast for the vocals to bounce off of, allowing SALt to define a far more varied sound than others in their genre.

But the songwriting flare does not stop there no; a feature of this new wave punk is its appreciation for stoner rock and shoe-gaze music. We can feel this in ‘Fairytale on Fire’ when we listen to the sound from ‘Candyfloss’ and its descending and cyclic riff with the vocal slotted nonchalantly in between. It's in ‘I Gotta Go’ with its fast-paced punchy drums and glitter guitars. It adds yet another layer of complexity to the album, one that pulls it apart from the crowd and says, hey I’m different and in the best of ways. It's deep like a book and just as profound.

Underlying all of this experimentation is something simple, however, and that’s what keeps SALt’s sound afloat. At the core of it all, they’re a punk band. They like rock and they like to play it loud. It's there in every song on the album and it's a powerful thread that ties each and every new sound together. Songs like ‘I Hate you All’, ’James Bond’ and ‘Broken Toys’ bring the punk to the surface. The band have played in the sun and shown what they can do, but the classic is classic for a reason.

SALt’s ‘Fairytale on Fire’ is a show. It is an event to experience not an album to chuck on. There’s so much available within this collection of songs that it could be split into two and each would still draw my ear as a unique and well-defined album. Lucky us, it came all in one and will stand the test of time as an example of not only punk done right, but punk done wrong. And that’s so punk I love it.


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