Words: Karl Johnson | Photo: Rosie Wilson
As debut EP’s go, they don’t get too much more chaotic and fully formed than this. Gag Salon might well be a new name on the lips of those who hold explorative, high-octane guitar music dear, but ‘Get A Load Of This Guy’ seems to search further and ask more of the listener than just a pre-save or a playlist add of the lead single.
‘Germs’ wriggles and writhes with a hundred and one ideas melded to one, but in fact seemingly creates the calling card for which Gag Salon wish to be known for. Boundless energy, courageous left turns and simply good clean fun. ‘Horses’ acts as the big hitter, ferociously technical and disorderly in its guitar work and stabbing synthesizers, beautiful counteracting the track’s thoughtful breakdowns.
‘My Gun’ is the ideal centrefold (also the second big hitter), potent in its lyrical wanderings and introspective, self-deprecating commentary, sounding at times akin to the alternative Ghostbusters soundtrack that was too edgy for Sony’s Arista imprint in 84′. ‘Don’t Eat Stuff off the Pavement’ blends a heartfelt ballad with a keys-charged instrumental approach, intentionally battering the senses with something gut-feel and true to life in its lyricism. Lost contact with friends and a lack of connection fuels the song’s racing emotional undercurrent.
To finish proceedings, ’21st Century Classical Music’ is a stream of consciousness that rips into a lack of inspiration and the mixed feelings of London living, a jagged and jarring epic outro to what is a flawless body of work. Heavy, impulsive urges underpin Gag Salon’s debut, but it’s the subtle emotional outbursts that sucks you under.