Kevin Salem


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Kevin Salem's second solo album (after the excellent though underappreciated Soma City), 1996's Glimmer finds the ex-Dumptruck co-leader moving into a solid, unpretentious form of guitar rock with echoes of everyone from George Harrison and Tom Petty to the Velvet Underground. Similar to kindred spirits like Freedy Johnston and Michael Penn, Salem favors sturdy melodies that move easily from the bluesy opener "Run Run Run" to the ultra-catchy, almost Byrds-like "Innocence." Producer Niko Bolas gives Glimmer the same '70s rock vibe he'd delivered to earlier albums by Melissa Ethridge and Lone Justice, but there's no revivalism to Salem's music. His serious but not humorless lyrics have an almost novelistic detail to them, especially on the haunting "Chemical Night Train," and the band, helped out by guests ranging from Crazy Horse guitarist Frank Sampedro to folk-rock singer/songwriter Jules Verdone, rocks throughout, especially on the seven-and-half-minute workout "Destructible." Salem wouldn't release another album for close to five years -- a shame considering how outstanding Glimmer is.

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