The Salads
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The Salads

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band Rock Reggae

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"Album Review: 'The Big Picture' by The Salads"

Canadian party-rock band The Salads are only on their second full-length album, but they’ve paid enough dues to make whatever kind of record they damn well please. After over ten years as professional musicians, two EPs and their successful debut LP ‘Fold A to B’, their new album ‘The Big Picture’ reflects that philosophy.

The Salads, probably best known for hits ‘Get Loose’, ‘The Roth Kung Fu’ and ‘Today Is Your Lucky Day’, have changed their sound and style yet again for this album. While retaining punk, ska, soul, metal and hip-hop influences from earlier albums, the sound on ‘The Big Picture’ is a lot harder to pin down. Each song is different, but all of them display a depth of songwriting not seen as clearly on earlier albums.

The subject matter on this album is definitely different than the last one. Instead of singing about getting drunk and partying (still a favourite pastime of the band, so I hear), this album is a little more serious. Topics include social justice, drug abuse, loss of life and friendships, and even aging. The first track, ‘Growing Up’, is the rant of a band who knows it must eventually get old and yet retains its youthful state of mind.

Singer Darren ‘Mista D’ Dumas’s vocals have gotten grittier and deeper, but they’re suited to the album’s more melodic vocal lines. There’s not as much rapping, but D’s singing talent manifests itself. Each band member contributes to the song as a whole, so it never sounds like anybody’s showing off, but the musical skill of the band (some of whom are actually music teachers in their spare time) can’t help but show. Many songs feature guitarist Dave Ziemba busting out blistering speed-metal solos. Drummer Grant Taylor can turn solid beats into innovative grooves, best exemplified in the drum intro of ‘It’s Alright’. And many of the songs are held together with the ever-present bass grooves of Chuck Dailey.

The album shows the progress of a band constantly refining its sound, and this really pays off on a few tracks. ‘Growing Up’ starts the album with a perfect example of the band’s current sound. ‘The First Time’ shows that the band may be a little more serious, but they’ve sacrificed none of their energy, as it closes with one of the finest examples of Ziemba’s guitar-solo wankery ever recorded. ‘Seasons’, although arguably a ballad, is the kind of tune that will have you swaying back and forth, your arms around your buddies’ shoulders, singing the chorus at the top of your drunken lungs. However, the real stand-out track on the album is the aptly-named ‘Individual’. This song combines various obscure elements of hip-hop, punk, funk, and metal to create a ‘salad’ all its own, and its jagged pace is a great example of a band functioning as a single unit. Never a missed beat. I’d blame it on studio magic, but I’ve seen them do it live and it’s just as good.

This album will take some getting used to if you’re more of a fan of their party-hardy stuff, and long-time fans may miss the hip-hop influences. But it beats making the same album over and over, and even though The Salads are ‘Growing Up’, ‘It’s Alright’. - THE IRON WARRIOR


Discography

FOR YOUR DINING AND DANCING PLEASURE - THE SALADS (EP) (1996)
MEANWHILE... (LP) - THE SALADS (1998)
WHO"S THAT? (EP) - THE SALADS (2001)
FOLD A TO B (LP)- THE SALADS (2003)
BAND GONE WILD! (DVD) - THE SALADS (2005)
THE BIG PICTURE (LP)- THE SALADS (2006)
THE BIG REMIXES (EP)- THE SALADS (2007)
THE BIG PICTURE (JAPAN) - THE SALADS (2007)
UNRELEASED/UNTITLED (LP) - THE SALADS (2011)

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Bio

Over the course of the last 15 years, Toronto band The Salads, have become, arguably, Canada's best band. Songs like "Get Loose", "The Roth Kung Fu" and "Today Is Your Lucky Day" (respectively from 2003's FOLD A TO B and 2005's BAND GONE WILD DVD - both on Maui Wowie Records/Kindling Music/EMI Music Canada) have been heard around the world in huge Movies*, huge TV shows**, and a lot of commercials. Y'know the scene in the movie Eurotrip where the brother accidentally makes out with the sister after chugging Absinthe? That's The Salads! "We got to be on a Soundtrack Album with David Hasselhoff" laughs the band.

Their ferocious performances that leave smiling faces and sweaty bodies behind are legendary. The inspired musicianship and rock prowess of Dave Ziemba (guitar), and Chuck Dailey (bass) is boundless. It should be - they've been playing together in the same band since grade 7! When singer Darren Dumas joined the brotherhood in 1999, they had the frontman and voice that would turn this band into powerhouse that it is today. Darrin Pfieffer (drums), a new and proud Canadian citizen from the California band Goldfinger, entered the mix in 2008.

With the commercial success of FOLD A TO B came touring; headlining clubs and colleges, and playing on bills like: WARPED, EDGEFEST, LABATT BLUE MOTEL, CITY-TV'S NEW YEARS EVE BASH, THE ICE HOTEL. The album also led to a CASBY award win, an MMVA nomination, a Canadian Radio Music Award, and of course snatching up "favorite rock band" at The Indies... to name a few. They also toured Australia for the first time in 2006 supporting The Presidents of The United States of America to rave reviews. The Salads now do a ripping version of "Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi! Oi Oi!"

On their return, pre-production with Juno Award winning producer & engineer Dan Brodbeck started the very next day and in January 2007 a new album was completed - The Big Picture (MauiWowie/Kindling/Warner). Its tone more personal and yet universal as it touched more meaningful topics than the band had dared explore before. The Title "The Big Picture" was a reference to their frustration with their crumbling music business relationships at the time. After 2 years of touring The Album on Warped tour, Campus shows, and festivals, the guys stepped back from their business side of the band. Together, they decided to sever ties from their label and management.

Now The Salads have made the record they have always really wanted to make.
"We're just doing what feels right. It is kind of like being a bunch of kids in Dave's garage again, the way we started out, and it's been a blast! We're simply trusting our instincts as a band... and we are so jacked to tour this new record. The plan is simple: Have fun while making the world shake their collective ass and smile from ear to ear!"
Look out for The Salads self-produced Album recorded at Beach Road Studios (Engineered by Siegfreid Meier mixed by Dan Brodbeck) in 2011. Mista D is bragging: "This is the greatest collection of songs we've ever had the privilege of writing together without stress, just as the best of friends! We have also surrounded ourselves with some really good people to help us bring it all together. Feelin lucky? We are! Gettin lucky? Too busy recording! hahaha!".

The Salads are on a mission. They're focused on "having a good time, all of the time!"..."and feeling so Fine Fine Fine!".

*Eurotrip (DreamWorks Pictures) Hank and Mike (Maple)
**Queer As Folk, Hockey Night In Canada, Olympics, Degrassi, 24...
***Labatt Blue National TV Campaign, GM Canada National TV Campaign...