Salute The Sun is a 4-piece soul/funk/pop band from Bristol, who have been together just a year before recording this EP, and on first impressions, they’ve done extremely well in that year to be able to produce such a tight, well-defined sound. (Their live videos suggest the same well rehearsed unit.)
Overall, the five tracks on offer are put together in an almost mini-concept sort of way, building, for me at any rate, a sense of being at a club gig over a whole night, starting with funky upbeat energy, through intense atmospherics, and on into end-of-night chillout. I like an album that sounds like it’s been put together with some sort of narrative. It’s old-school, like recordings used to be before the age of the “shuffle” button.
The opening two tracks, “Levels” and “I Ain’t Ever (Giving Up)”, suggest a mix of 80s/90s funky pop in the Jamiroquai feel, mixed with a Red Hot Chilli Peppers type vocal and melody, but that’s not to say that the sound is derivative or retro in any bad way. It’s fresh and approachable, and does what I think any good EP should do: it makes you think that this would be a great band to catch live, and makes you want to hear the rest of the EP as well.
Track 3, “TLG”, changes tone, and puts a rhythm section that feels more Dub or Jamaican Dancehall under atmospheric guitars and keys. The rhythm is driving and insistent, and the overall feel, particularly in the guitar solos, is that dark, almost psychedelic, 3am club mood (the good kind of club mood, not the rubbish, what-are-we-still-doing-here kind!)
Track 4 and 5, “Guard Down I” and “Guard Down II”, close the EP with the Chillout moods. As a connected pair, these might work better at the end of a 10 or 12-track album. Here, with only 3 tracks to build the energy and fatigue for which the chillout would be the counterpoint needed, there is a slight feel of imbalance: for my mind, one of these (I’d have picked “Guard Down I”) would have been enough. But that’s looking at the EP as a whole.
On a slightly negative note, the overall production of the EP might be better for being brighter and more sparkly, but as a first EP from a band that has been together for just over a year and is still developing a sound and a following, you get everything that you need from the production that’s been delivered here to know that this is a band well worth seeing.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Great Review Of Guard Down EP By ‘Salute The Sun’. I first saw them perform at The Fleece Open Mic night and I was really impressed.
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