|GOOD: NME Review
A message from Matt reminded us that this week is the 10 year anniversary of the release of the second (and last) studio album by Saloon.
A combination of passing time and failing memory has been unkind to our second album. I can’t speak for the others, but it’s fair to say that I have never looked on it as fondly as (this is) what we call progress.
There are loads of reasons why. The plan had always been to make a fast and noisy record that was more like our live sound, but by the time we had finished the second record it had become a lot more restrained and polished and more of a tiwwcp part 2. This was partly because of the track listing; some of the louder songs we were working on (like ‘I have found the way’ and (the unfinished and unreleased) ‘World War III’ we just couldn’t get to work right. Perhaps it was because it was a slightly somewhat more rushed affair as we didn’t want a long gap between albums, certainly where with tiwwcp we demoed all the tracks before, with iwmitf we didn’t have the chance. So instead of being a collection of fast noisy ones, we fell back to the more polished and restrained type of song, like ‘Dreams Mean Nothing’ which we knew we did well. Also, as control freaks, we chose to record and mix the album ourselves and, in hindsight, that was perhaps too much work, particularly for Amanda, who did the brunt of the work. I certainly still can’t listen to it without thinking about all the little things we should have changed.
|BAD: Branded Review
We also felt a massive amount of pressure after the whole Festive 50 thing to deliver something really special, although now we had even less time to write and rehearse due to all the gigs people wanted us to do, and we had no more money and support than we had ever had. We still had full-time jobs to hold down, which many of our contemporaries didn’t. Of course the real reason I like this album less, was the fact that we split up so soon after it; the tour to promote the album was a horrible slog and I don’t think any of us were in the best of places at the time – at least with the band.
But, as ever on this blog I am accentuating the negative. The record still sold pretty well, and at least half of the songs production-wise are as good as anything else we have done. I think ‘Vesuvius’ ‘Kaspian’ and ‘Intimacy’ are up there with the best things we ever did. The sleeve – which I was not that keen on at the time – I think looks pretty cool now especially the gatefold vinyl version. If the sleeve of ‘progress’ (recorded in May 2001) was about building an optimistic future, the sleeve of ‘if we meet in the future’ (recorded post 9-11 and depicting something akin to a ravaged nuclear wasteland) captured a far more period-appropriate dystopian aesthetic.
Also the reviews were for this album were almost entirely glowing, with 8/10 in the NME which for us at the time it was all that mattered (finally making up for the terrible live review in 1999). I’ve posted on here the best reviews – the NME – and the worse (from something called Branded magazine).
In terms of audio goodies, I do have some demos from this album but we only demoed 6 songs and all are without Alison’s viola and many without vocals. So instead I have posted a session we did at the time, recorded live in our own studio, for Aligre FM (French radio station) which includes some decent versions of several of the tracks from that album. I have also posted two remixes done by AUW (aka Dom Cresswell, my brother).
Unbelievably I have now sold all the remaining copies of ‘If we meet in the future’ but I am quite sure you can track it down on ebay for a few of your hard earned pennies.