Neo-psych revivalism in its many shapes and sizes had long since been codified by the time of Salomé's debut album, but A.M., almost thoroughly lacking in surprise as it is, is one of those discs that can still scratch an itch in a fantastically loud fashion. With a turn toward the darker, skull-crushing end of pedal abuse and slow grind, the band bears comparison with the likes of Bardo Pond at its best; songs like the blasting rampage of "Dead Princess," E-Bow guitars lurking in the background as amps are further abused up front, are no slouches. There are calmer moments throughout, sometimes as part of a song and even once as the whole ("Easter Island," which works up a steady head of steam over a slow pace and bass lope while never quite going over the top). A bit of an open-ended collective with a core of around five players, Salomé finds its voice in its percussionists, with low-toned Ed Reno III taking the lion's share and Emma Bryant adding in as needed. Reno's singing is actually the most distinct thing about the group, cutting across and through the shoegaze zoneout of "5118." When he steps back a bit to more conventional blissout-style singing, it's less distinctive, but the alternating between steady electric chimes and explosion on "Waiting," for instance, shows how the band can pick up a bit more when needed. Bryant's sweeter tones certainly can succeed as well -- her work plus what sounds like bells on "The Object Lesson" add a lower-key contrast to the cranked-up-to-ten arrangement of the song otherwise. The two work together fantastically on "Planet of the Apes," a chaotic instrumental break made more so by flute, while their singing parts bring a calmer structure back.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett