The Full Salon is from the mind of composer and bassist Henry Fraser. On this record, he is accompanied by Mel Stancato on vocals, Evan Allen on synthesizers, Andrew Smiley on guitar, Peter Moffet on drums, & Connor Baker on electronic drums. Brandon Seabrook plays guitar on tracks 2 & 6, Sam Weinberg on Alto Sax on tracks 4, 6, and 7 and Kim Mayo on background vocals on track 3, all mixed together by Ryan Power, yes the Ryan Power.
This record was released May 1st and was put out by Jonathan Nankof’s label Erased! Tapes.
Following suit with Erased! Tapes’ previous releases, this is a lo-fi darling to prove the genre still has legs in tattered skinny jeans and torn-up vans.
I ran down the cast of characters because this ain’t your bedroom lo-fi music and Henry Fraser’s legs ain’t the only legs in tattered jeans and torn up vans. It is as, The Full Salon’s bandcamp page states, “…these long standing relationships, musical and otherwise … have fostered the vulnerability required for this kind of experimentation.”
If you checked out the premier of the single “The Intendant” you may have expected a catchy lo-fi pop sounding album with just the right amount of flanger and cheeriness not to take you too far out of your COVID-related doom-scrolls.
However you would be wrong, as was I. The listener is continually toyed with. The music ducks and dives, the point is allusive. From the airy lightness of the first track, the listener is then launched into Rhoda Straw that features hazing guitar sounds and a ripping bass line. Probably my favorite song of the album, this song displays the potential of Fraser’s abilities; something that rips, but is also weird as can be.
Painted Beauty features female vocals and is exceedingly warm and revealing. This song seems to be a counterpoint to ‘The Intendant’ that takes us on a vulnerable pathway in an otherwise harsh, warbled soundscape.
Through further detours, the final song, Apocatastasis is surely worth the wait. Spanning over seven minutes, this song makes the album seem like a salient choice. Apocastasis, according to my friends at wikipedia, is ‘…the reconstitution to the original or primordial form…’
Oh how I love the primordial.
And this track is no different. The noise builds and is scattered across the speakers. And when the song is over, when the album is over the silence seems to stick to your skin more than usual.
Proving that the output from Erased! Tapes never ceases to surprise. This record is a case in point for their unexpected sounds filled with energy and a musical ruthlessness unparalleled here in Boston.
Always remember to support your (local) musicians and BUY their products, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chris Hues is a human & writer from Boston, Ma & Associate Editor of bostonhassle.com. //// They can be reached at [email protected] or @crsjh_ via instagram & twitter.