The minute I put on this EP I was transported back to the halcyon days of the mid-Eighties when digital watches were cool, mobile phones were the size of breeze blocks and jangly indie pop dominated John Peel’s Festive 50.
Salient Braves‘ shambling sound is shot through with nostalgia, reviving the spirit of the ’80s for the social media generation.
The Barnsley-based combo clearly share a kinship with many of the great Northern bands of that era, including The Housemartins, Half Man Half Biscuit and David Gedge‘s oft-underrated Wedding Present.
There’s a familiar warmth and wry wit in these tales of wasters with a fondness for beer, betting shops and nights on the town.
Announcing itself with a plaintive ‘Have You Ever Seen A Grown Man Cry?’, title track They Must Have Seen Me Coming, is a darkly comic snapshot of the life of a loser who gets his kicks ‘from the ringing the bookies’ till’.
The impecunious-sounding Johnny Nocash‘s guitars recall Housemartins’ Happy Hour, while songwriter Matt Bailey‘s multi-tracked vocals offer sumptuous harmonies.
There’s more black humour to be found on The Great Unwashed, wherein the protagonist can’t even be bothered to get out of bed, while third track Odd Couple features a clever call and response chorus in its examination of the classic ‘can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em’ conundrum.
There’s a fairly straight cover of REM‘s Losing My Religion, before Bailey literally takes a pot shot at reality TV on X-Factor Shooting Spree.
In a manner reminiscent of Morrissey on Margaret on the Guillotine, Bailey casually croons about an afternoon spent cheerfully mowing down X-Factor hopefuls.
Simon Cowell‘s fondness for the high-wasted trouser is mercilessly lampooned and Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity… also come in for some stick.
Neil Ritchie‘s no nonsense production keeps things fresh and clear, with the odd brass flourish and this is a promising foretaste of the Brave’s debut album scheduled for release next year.
They Must Have Seen Me Coming is available for pre-order through Broken Down Records on this link.
Catch Salient Braves live at the Calmapalooza benefit in aid of CALM in Huddersfield on 30 July.