The debut album from Manchester’s finest soulfully-blessed Psychedelic trailblazers Heavy Salad has finally dropped.
Cult Casual hit record stores on September 25th and affirmed that the optimism that I’ve held since hearing their eccentrically resolving sophomore single Battery Acid in 2019 was entirely well placed.
Some records, you put on the turntable and know you’ll be apathetic about letting the needle hit it again. Others, you know you’ll delve right back in for the successive hits of emotion which manifested the first time around. Cult Casual is firmly in the latter camp.
Track 1, Death is a gentle Surf Pop easing into the colourful chaos which ensues in the form of their cult hit (in the most literal use of the phrase) Battery Acid. Track 3, The Wish is the feat of feisty grunge which blows every other Garage Rock artist in Manchester out of the water while simultaneously giving artists such as Dinosaur Jr a run for their money.
Track 4, Inner Versions carries the same bite as The Wish, but this time the playful angst is projected over punchy Indie Rock licks, leaving plenty of space for guitarist Rob Glennie to humbly unveil the virtuosic talent he’s been hiding all along. Track 5, Reverse Snake is Heavy Salad’s psych Rock scathing attack on the ideocracy which led us to Brexit. Arcanely, they actually succeeded in creating a high-vibe Anti-Brexit track.
Fans of Avant-Garde will be suitably enraptured in the album from Track 6 where the experimentalism truly starts to take hold. After you’ve enjoyed all the juicy Psych Pop earworms, it’s time to immerse yourselves in the unpredictable yet pragmatic progressive nature of High Priestess and This Song is Not About Lizards. Unapologetically, the tracks take seismic shifts in tone and ferocity, leaving you at the mercy of their rhythmic prowess and whatever celestial magic the Priestesses are serving up in the form of their intoxicating vocals.
Whichever plateau you’ve floated to with the former singles, Routine Dream will allow you to crash down to earth with the scuzzily confrontational track which serves an aggressive yet compassionate reminder that you’re probably living blind. Thankfully, there’s plenty of aural comfort in Slow Ride which will make sure that you’re in the best possible mindset for the evocative assault which follows.
The final track It’s OK to Bleed will break my heart over and over again. In a time where people are more likely to invest in bitcoin rather than their emotional intelligence, it’s utterly priceless. Straight from the intro, the tenderness rings through the guitar progressions, then, the vocal and lyrical empathy bring torrid emotions to the front but there’s plenty of solace to be found in the track which unravels as gospel for the impious.
In short, it’s a cosmic rollercoaster and easily up there with the best things to happen in 2020. Listen to it.
You can check out Cult Casual via Spotify & Bandcamp or you can (and you definitely should) treat yourself to a CD or vinyl copy of the album released via Dripped in Gold Recordings.
Review by Amelia Vandergast