What can we say about LA Salami’s new album, The Cause of Doubt & A Reason to Have Faith? Well, it has quite a long title, and a very long opening track. It has six other songs, of varying lengths, and it is L.A. Salami’s third album to date.
After that, things get a bit more difficult.
The record starts slowly, easing itself into the opening title track as the various instruments find their feet. Unfortunately, musically at least, the album doesn’t find its feet until the second half – and with only seven songs, that is not very much to get your teeth into. There seems little in the way of catchy hooks, choruses or in fact any recognisable structure to grab onto. Although, bizarrely, you can find yourself hours later whistling what you thought was a random ditty, only to realise it was the riff of a track you have no recollection of listening to.
In any event, usually it is his lyrics that allow Salami to thrive. As usual, on The Cause of Doubt there is the gossamer-thin veil of metaphor to protect the delicate poetic and political message below. However, whilst it is always obvious to the listener Salami is trying to get some point across, it isn’t always clear what that point is. At other times, (in some cruel reversal of that disappearing trick people do with dogs, a blanket and a doorway) it is if someone has ripped away the veil and smashed you in the face with a brick: “The chaos is reined in by a man named Putin, a man you could say who likes to play God.”
The choice of single ‘Things Ain’t Changed’ seems an obvious one – described as a ‘heartfelt ode to the complexity of life’, it offers an enjoyable chorus, enticing and intriguing lyrics and a genuine, accessible message. It is comfortably the best song on the album. However, frustratingly even this is subject to the cliched outro of a changing radio, fuzzing between stations before we land on the intro to the next track. This is a trope so ancient and over-used its principle agent (the manual tuned radio) is now an antique. Clearly the click of a DAB doesn’t have a suitably satisfying aural aesthetic.
By the time the end-track ‘The Talis-Man on the Age of Glass (Redux)’ reaches its finale (which it takes it time getting to, having a run-time of almost seven minutes, the last minute of which can only really be described as ‘a racket’), the listener cannot help but feel frustrated as to what might have made out of the raw ingredients of this album. L.A. Salami is a talent, and one of the most exciting lyricists around right now, but unfortunately this album leaves a lot of cause for doubt, and little reason to have faith, in that assertion.