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Saltlake - 'Medicate Me' EP Review


1. Badlands

2. Sympathy Apathy

3. Hourglass

4. Medicate Me

Timing, they say, is everything - especially in music.

Saltlake are a 3 piece hailing from Sussex and London. Formed in 2013, they are tackling the modern Alternative Rock face, which has seen many an earnest tunesmith lose their footing and be dashed on to the cruel rocks below.

Their latest attempt to reach the summit is the 4 track EP ‘Medicate Me’ The EP is made up of 'Badlands', 'Sympathy Apathy', 'Hourglass' and the eponymous 'Medicate Me' – 4 songs which fit the modern Alternative Rock bill but aren’t memorable enough to make an impression beyond wondering if you heard that rhyme correctly. The press release makes much of their use of synths and the resultant “gargantuan electronic soundscapes” but, in all honesty, each appearance of synths seems like an afterthought, like they’re being thrown in in an attempt to be different and to try and stand out. It works but only in the sense that each time they appear you end up wondering which of your playlists Hybrid Theory is on.

Lyrically it’s fairly standard Radio 2 Alt Rock with a liberal smattering of angst and love gone wrong. Not offensive and that’s the issue really. If you’re aiming for Alternative Rock then you need to be alternative – concentrate more on the lyrical imagery than the gargantuan soundscapes. Make me feel like I’ve discovered something I want to tell my friends about. Just make me feel!

It’s not all bad - singer/guitarist Henry Gottelier fair belts it out – not the best voice I’ve ever heard but there’s promise there and with John Godly (drums) and Liam Quinn (bass) laying down a solid foundation as a rhythm section, you can see why they’ve gained a following live. Each song feels written and constructed for the live audience (and Linkin Park fans in the case of the synths) and you can imagine how they’d be live. But, when they try to transfer that to the studio, it ends up lacking something, feeling forced. I’ve seen bands who nail the studio and can re-invent the song for the stage and bands that will have you waving your lighter all night but then struggle to enthuse you to turn the light on once they’re back in the studio. And that’s where timing has let Saltlake down. If I was listening to this after seeing them live I suspect I would be raving about them, droning on and on about how the rhythm section is the powerful glue that binds this band together….but I haven’t seen them live and there is no raving to be done.

At this moment in time, Saltlake are a band to experience live rather than recorded.

Review - Chris Watson

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