“Less is more.” A phrase popularised by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe but obviously never practiced by rock band Salt River Shakedown.
On their new EP Road To The Sacred Island the Glaswegian quartet have thrown caution and conventional wisdom out the window. The EP might only be seven tracks long but it’s a vast expanse of fuzzy guitar riffs, swirling rhythms and towering vocals.
The title tracks lets you know immediately what you’re in for as the band’s Led Zeppelin meets Audioslave sound transports you to what feels like another world. Everything is so over the top and almost theatrical, that you don’t so much listen to the record as get pulled along by it. This is all aided by the Robert Plant/Chris Cornell style vocal which tugs you one way, and then flips you around another almost immediately.
The guitar work is top class with the almost Funk inspired riff which leads off ‘Sunbird’ being a particular highlight. That’s not to say the EP isn’t without it’s overindulgences and the odd misstep. ‘Look To The Stars’ is too long, too overblown, and the vocal ‘wobbles’ in the chorus just don’t work.
However, songs like ‘A Feast For The Wolves’ and ‘Just You Watch’ are more than good enough to cancel out the bad. Yes, you can’t escape that heavy retro slant to their sound, but they do just enough to keep things feeling fresh and interesting. That being said the band do go full Led Zeppelin on closer ‘Find My Way’ as they wind their way through a sprawling right and a half minute epic.
Road To The Sacred Island isn’t going to be for everyone. Salt River Shakedown’s chaotic style can be a little difficult to get into at first, but with time you can really appreciate what the band have done here. And that’s create one hell of a rock record.