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Saloon | If We Meet In The Future (Track and Field)
This Reading-based quintet caused quite a stir with last year's '(This Is) What We Call Progress' debut, finding critical acclaim at every turn and even topping John Peel's Festive Fifty with Girls Are The New Boys. Appropriately enough this eclectic clique also performed at London's ICA, providing audio accompaniment to sci-fi movie 'La Jetée'.
Refusing to be saddled with an off the shelf genre stamp, the collective talents of Saloon bring elements of folk, indie-pop and kraut-rock to the table and stir up a beguiling stew. In Amanda Gomez they boast one of the most disarming singers to have emerged from our Isles, blessed with a voice so dreamy she makes Spanish sound sexy on ¿Que Quieres? and the mundane magical on Happy Robots. The delicate swoon of Kaspian is as seductive as the melody-drenched up-tempo pop of Absence, and both evoke the very best of 'The Wishing Chair' era 10,000 Maniacs, filtered through a European new-wave sensibility. Sounding like a less languorous American Analog Set, The Sound of Thinking finds its groove and builds around a simple guitar figure and synth counter-melody, with additional keyboard shades and Gomez's first half vocal cameo eventually giving way to a frantic last minute propelled by Michael Smoughton's authoritative percussion. Tempering experimentation with a firm grasp of melody and restraint, Saloon's latest is an album that should sound as welcoming in the future as it does today.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003