Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cassette Review:
"you did it to yourself"
(Perfect Attendance Records)

$8 //  //

One of the things about music which always seems to bother me but I do it anyway is when you compare an artist with another artist.   It always happens, it feels inevitable, but in the case of Saline for example you can round up some of the regular suspects such as Speedy Ortiz and Great Grandpa.   What bothers me is if I wanted to listen to Speedy Ortiz, I'd put on their album.   Saline is one of those rare examples though where it's not about sounding like another artist but rather finding your own voice in a genre.  Granted, I'm not against bands who sound like Band A + Band B and create their own sound because this type of accomplishment of creating your own path through a genre does not happen often.

The music of Saline is heavy but there is a lighter side to it as well.  Some of the songs are slower, lighter in the sense of Cowboy Junkies, Mazzy Star or K's Choice but then others kick in heavier with that distortion like Hum or Weezer.   Now here is where it gets tricky: sometimes the slower songs can also be the heavier songs.    If you are confused as to how these two different sides of the coin can crossover with such ease then you simply need to hear these songs for further proof.

And that's where that special quality of Saline comes in.  It's not "Oh this sounds like Weezer in the heavier songs and That Dog on the slower ones".   It's more a matter of taking those elements and mixing them up in ways previously unheard of, which crafts not only a new sound but a new genre of sorts.    Even when I'm beginning to think that this has elements of Nirvana (because overall there are hints of grunge) I then am reminded of punk/new wave and it has this synth at the end that makes complete sense when you hear it but on paper would feel out of place.

While I enjoy comparing music with soundtracks I don't have a steady one for Saline to fit with- and that's a good thing.   I'd usually go for "10 Things I Hate About You", "Angus" or "Mallrats" even or maybe "Empire Records" or "Tank Girl".   See, that's where the trouble comes in.  It doesn't fit a soundtrack in that sense because it defies genre.   I never have a problem hearing a band in 2018 and thinking they'd fit in well with a soundtrack from twenty years ago, but Saline just doesn't fit that mold-- they break it.

Though this will take you on a musical adventure that might take you years to process (and we will only fully comprehend it in years to come when new artists emerge and we compare them with Saline) it cannot go without stating that I love the theme of this album as well, from the title to the lyrics.   How often do we get that "I fucked up, I'm sorry" bullshit from music?  Too many songs are too whiny and like Dead Bedrooms, Saline pulls no punches straight from the title.   All too often in our lives (and I am as guilty of this as the next) we are afraid or just incapable of taking responsibility for our own actions.   This is your life too. 

Lines like "This is not what I wanted" and "Hope it haunts you bad" stick out right away for me because on one hand I always feel like I get dealt a hand I didn't ask for and at the same time I hope others are haunted by their decisions the way that I feel like I am sometimes haunted by mine.   But did you know there are people out there in this world who really just don't care.   They just don't have that level of empathy and so they can do things without consequences in their mind.   I enjoy the aspect of this cassette perhaps the most that accountability is a theme for being human and if you feel it there isn't something wrong with you, if you don't however you should maybe listen to this one in a self-help way.

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