Salarymen have perfected a luminescent sixties-infected pop sunshine buzz in their songs, which have been collected in a dazzling array in their new EP ‘Head In The Sand’.
Opening track ‘Summer’s Coming’ is blinding with its light headed optimism and positively bounces as it extols the virtues of sunshine and holidays with tongue-in-cheek anodyne lyrics:
‘Young Guns’ has dual vocals which add a golden lustre to the song, with a bright and breezy forward motion. The inspiration and subject matter of the track, however, is undoubtedly grim and contrasts with the sparkle and bounce of the music:
Tonight, thank god that I’m alive tonight
I don’t know what is wrong or right tonight
Those kids will never see the light
If I could only change your mind
Renee de la Motte says:
We tried to capture the wilful ignorance of politicians who continue to put profit over lives, despite outcry from the public and the rest of the world. The music is purposefully carefree and happy-go-lucky, because unfortunately that’s the way the conversation seems to go each time a shooting happens, as if nothing can really be done to curb the issue.
Thom Eagleton adds:
Kids should be in the prime of their lives – instead they’re worrying about being shot at school. As Australians, this is a strange and devastating concept. The painful irony is, In the time it took us to record and release this track, it’s almost as if lawmakers have forgotten about them because it happens so frequently.
It certainly results in a dynamic tension between the lyrics and the delivery that is wonderfully executed with swirling instrumentation and glorious harmonies.
The music video, directed by Todd Stephen Logan, depicts two young fast food servers who knock off work and ride down a suburban street, with a looming figure close behind. The figure eventually catches up with the pair, making for an eery transition between an afternoon of innocent fun and a terrifying chase after dark.
There is a sixties-infused sparkle in Salarymen that recollects artists like St Etienne and Lily Allen – bright and effervescent pop that seem to emit a healthy glow while touched with that essential pop ingredient: a sprinkle of melancholia. ‘All In Vain’ contains all these essential parts: it is a glorious high-stepping piece of pop sunshine that is euphoric and infectious.
De la Motte has a velvet voice that recalls the golden tones of Dusty Springfield or The Ronettes. She says of the track:
‘All in Vain’ is a frank reflection on how much social media has crept into our lives, and placed pressure on us to look better and be present, all of the time. As a society, it has increased our narcissistic tendencies and driven us to compete with other people. What someone puts out on Instagram might look amazing, but in many cases they can be deeply insecure and unhappy with themselves. These platforms have become a constant force reminding people of what they lack, and this track is an uplifting reminder not to worry about what people think of you on the internet. You’re cool the way you are.
This message of positivity reflects the sunshine bright bounce of the track. Director and Editor Todd Stephen Logan has created a video that matches the sparkle and joy:
Driving percussion and shimmering guitars feature in ‘Rerun’ – a highlight for me – with its wistful fey vocals and rousing, indelible chorus that reaches for the sky with its expansive, cinematic scope. Final track ‘Toe To Toe’ follows this path with its bright breezy, cantering pace and gorgeous dual harmonies, augmented by a hammond organ-like fairground shimmer.
The EP was predominantly recorded and mixed by Salarymen (Renee de la Motte & Thom Eagleton) in their home studio, with support from legendary award-winning engineer Wayne Connolly (Boy and Bear, Cloud Control) from Scenic Drive Records.
‘Head In The Sand’ is out now and available to download and stream here and through the link below.
The band is off on tour to Japan later this year – details below.
Feature Photograph: Tom Wilkinson