Salteens Grey Eyes

Salteens Grey Eyes
Given how the pop culture cycle now builds up artists then tears them down before their first record is even out, the seven-year gap between the Salteens' sophomore album, Let Go of Your Bad Days, and Grey Eyes essentially makes the Vancouver, BC group retro-nostalgia. But then, the Salteens never really were of their time. The third full-length from the band, who always felt a bit like the West Coast's answer to the Superfriendz, distances themselves further from their contemporaries, dropping the guitars altogether and adopting '60s orchestral pop, à la Tin Pan Alley and Pet Sounds. What's astounding is how much of a natural fit the two are. Ambitious songs like "You're Taking All of this Too Far" could comfortably sit next to anything on the group's first two records, with Scott Walker's distinctive melodies tying everything together. Never is this more apparent than on the re-worked versions of songs that appeared on this spring's Moths EP, where previous guitar-driven power pop gets an orchestral makeover. Part of Grey Eyes's charm lies in its lush production, which emphasizes the ten-member group's eclectic array of instrumentation (trombone, tuba, flugelhorn) without losing any of the analog feel of the records they're emulating; you feel like you're sitting in the studio listening to the band perform. It's a welcome return from a too often overlooked gem in Canadian indie rock. (Boompa)