Salad Days


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Salad Days Review

by Peter J. D'Angelo

This intriguing record contains everything from bizarre field recordings to falsetto vocals, and somehow also manages to work in ambient drum experiments, a charming guitar interlude, and an 18-minute escape into free-form songwriting. Recorded over three years, and spanning a period that saw the band lose their talented guitarist Phil Bonnet, Cheer Accident's Salad Days showcases a group functioning outside the normal bounds of what is considered accessible. With production help from Steve Albini, this five-song record from the Chicagoan collective is a puzzling journey that continuously weaves its way toward its final opus, "Salad Days." Unfortunately, over the course of the album, the group's sound alternates between terrific and unlistenable. "Post Premature" is definitely one of the most compelling tunes, and it contains a beautifully bare live performance recorded by Bonnet shortly before his death. On the other hand, a micro-cassette recording of what seems to be children singing also rounds out the effort. Sadly, by the time "Salad Days" actually comes on, Cheer Accident has caused enough disorientation for most listeners to have completely given up. The track itself is a wild ride, complete with horns, wails, and a lot of other indefinable tones. Progressive in scope, it alternates between smart math rock, utter nonsense, and a weighty dose of Zappa-esque rhythmic tomfoolery. Cheer Accident is difficult to dislike, and if given the chance, they seem happy to let you take whatever you like from their challenging oeuvre.

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