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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Salt - Auscultate

Name: Salt
Album: Auscultate
Year: 1996
Style: Alt Rock, Metal
Similar Bands: Jennifer Trynin, PJ Harvey, Garbage, Spinanes, Screaming Females
One-Word Review: Cascading Heartfelt Metal
Based Out Of: Sweden
Label: Island, PolyGram, MVG Records
 Ausculate - Cover & Back Liner
 Ausculate - Liner Lyrics 1-2
  Ausculate - Liner Lyrics 3-4
  Ausculate - Liner Lyrics 5-6, CD
  Ausculate - Liner Lyrics 7-8, Back
  Ausculate - Liner Lyrics 9-10, CD Tray
  Ausculate - Liner Lyrics 11-12
 Ausculate - Liner Notes
Ausculate (1996)
  1. Impro 0:57
  2. Honour Me 3:53
  3. Beauty 2:06
  4. God Damn Carneval 3:58
  5. Obsession 2:54
  6. Bluster 3:10
  7. Lids 3:59
  8. So 3:33
  9. Witty 4:04
  10. So I Aches 2:43
  11. Flutter 3:11
  12. Sense 2:12
  13. Undressed 5:02
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Dag Lundquist - Producer, Mixing, Recording
Nina Ramsby - Vox, Guitars (Baxter, Ace Leaf, Grand Tone Music, Jimbob, Shredhead, Marin Hederos, )
Daniel Ewerman - Bass (Dewer)
Jim Tegman - Drims (Grand Tone Music)
Stefan Glaumann - Mixing
Jorgen Svensson - Additional Engineering
Bjorn Engelmann - Mastering
Lotta Johansson - Violin (Elvira, Staffan Hellstrand, Cinnamon, Lars Winnerback, Steffan Sunstrom,
Fredrik Black - Guitar (Staffan Hellstrand, Lolita Pop, Kajsa Grytt, Di Leva,
Leonida Simba - A&R
Per Kviman - A&R
Ricky - Cover
Bisse - Photo
Jeff Eyrich/GreenTeam - US Management

Unknown-ness: I'm not sure why I purchased this CD or when I picked it up. I must have heard a song or read a review about it back in the 90's and then bought it when I found it used at some point, because it does not have any of the original packaging with it, and I compulsively kept the advert stickers and the spine label stickers. I have no expectations to this record, except being a general, 90's sounding fuzzy indie alt band. Maybe it will have a childish tint, since the back uses letter magnets to spell out the album title, plus doll house miniatures.

Album Review: With Bluster being their biggest hit, and also the title of their first EP, they were poised and touted to be the next great thing (Nirvana 2.0?). But they didn’t capitalize, which might be blamed by the changing music scene in 1997. Their second album is just a footnote, “Delay Me Down and Make Me Wah Wah!.”
“Impro” fades in as if the song has been playing for 20 minutes. The female vocals are deep, and the guitars pound and thrash. But as if a tease, the whole song fades out before you can get a good grasp of the song.
“Honour Me” rings in with harmonized guitars promoting the alternative genre. The vocals are deep, but more delicate than the music. The chorus finds a happy medium with layered, harmonic vocals and power-rock guitars. It really reminds me of a heavier Jennifer Trynin.
“Beauty” features a muffled guitar playing a siren pattern, and then the song kicks in, with a stumbling tempo. The vocals are aggressively sung, and remain catchy. The instrumental powers through to a stop and start chorus, and the song ends abruptly following repetition of four progressive riffs.
“God Damn Carneval” begins similarly with a muted intro that crashes in with power guitars. The song slows town to a sluggish hobble that feels like it is just reserving and building power. The bridge lets out some of the power, and the Metal/prog chorus reminds me of Screaming Females. It shifts back and forth from silent to rocking.
“Obsession” starts with powerful female vocals. The guitars are driving and metal-like. The song only shifts gears, and never lets up, as if to mimic the continuing excitement of an obsession. About the 2 minute mark, things slow down, but threaten to restart with force. The song comes back for one more chorus, before sprinting to the finish with the vocals.
|“Bluster” was their single and most famous track. One note starts it off, and expands. The song tumbles forward, and settles on a chugging, marching tempo. Vocals are clearly sung over top, and are punctuated by bursts of energy in vocals and guitars. The melody of the chorus reminds me of Fuel’s Shimmer. This is not a complex song: it is two sections blended together. The punctuation bursts are strung together to finish out the song.
“Lids” begins so quietly that I had to turn the volume up to hear the “Lightning Crashes” like chords, and delicate vocals hum overtop. The song is a slowly, and barely building song of reflection. At 2:15, the drums count down and the song kicks in with chugging power chords and aggressive singing.

“So” was another single, and is the song I most remember of theirs. It has a bit of Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You sultriness and awareness built in, thanks to the vocals and acoustic guitar. The vocals are mixed right up front, like they are being sung quite personally. The chorus is the catchiest hook on the record, and slowly rolls along, despite the energy behind the guitars. It is a perfectly constructed song, not too long, and wraps up with the catchiest hook at the perfect time.
“Witty” fades up with a spacey echoing note, and continues with metal guitars over top a tinny drum beat and steady three tiered base line. The guitars kick in at the chorus, and the song furthers the alt-metal vibe. To finish out the song, the guitars play a cascading thrash of notes, and the title is sung repetitively.
“So I Aches” comes in with a barrage of bass and guitars. The deep vocals transition to emotional, Veruca Salt like vocals, back and forth. The Vocals toward the end are double layered, and sung in-the-round
“Flutter” begins with a standard alt-guitar riff, which gives pause for the bass-lead verse. The chorus seems like a predictable burst of afterthought. Like, “it’s about time we put some kind of chorus change here, so here we go.” There are some definite Nirvana-utilized chords, but it just comes out feeling like generic alt-grunge.
“Sense” begins quietly with a drum palpitation, and a need to turn up the volume to hear the hushed vocals. The short song never gets louder, if you were not paying attention, it might have seemed like 2 minutes of dead space on the album. It is very minimal and delicate, relying strictly on the vocal melody.
"Undressed” begins with a fun disjointed, somewhat bouncy hook. The song then takes off for the bridge. But rather than hit the chorus running, it returns to the fun hook. The second time offers the anticipated delivery into a chorus, which acts like a come-down from the bridge’s burst of energy. Then, for a second or two, the energy is ramped up, but quickly returns to the verse stanza. The sections of the song are rearranged and combined and separated, forming a naturally rolling song where any section could come next. The song is never dull, and can be seen as a summary of the album, as all parts are represented. Even the end of the song, reverts to the quiet, hushed vocals only that require a volume change to hear and appreciate. My best comparison would be a combo of Jennifer Trynin covering and playing with Screaming Females. It is good, but ultimately forgettable.

Stand Out Track: So

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