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Single Review: Ben Salter – ‘Tremulous’

2 min read

Tremulous, the latest single from Ben Salter’s recent European Vacation EP, departs starkly from the distinctly Australian brand of folk rock that characterises the majority of his work, providing a much more universal sound.

BenSalterTremulousThe track is an obvious attempt by Salter to push his music forward into the contemporary mainstream, evidenced by the increased presence of artificial instrumentation and the uplifting and easily palatable summery melody in the chorus. However, the song still dabbles with flavours from music of past decades.

When I say this though, it is not the earthy folk of Nick Drake or the Powderfinger variety alt-rock, which can be read into some of Salter’s past work, that are shining through here. Instead, the wistful and reverb-laden voice of singer-songwriter Christa Vi, with whom the track is a collaboration, has a rather Cyndi Lauper Time After Time vibe when combined with the minimalistic, artificial backing and the chorus’ whimsical vocal line. For about forty seconds in the middle of the song, however, Salter’s vocals take the lead, and the ominous, mechanic synth undertones remind me of a The Wall era Pink Floyd.

This short segment of the track is it’s strongest; it has a fluidity and a depth of emotion that the rest of the song doesn’t; it is the haunting vocal harmony between Salter and Vi at this point that makes me want to revisit the track.

The whole song though is apt for getting stuck in your head, I have found, which is certainly one mark of a successful pop tune. And whilst I have expressed my preference for the  sombre side of Salter’s songwriting, it’s not hard to imagine the more blithe melodic elements finding favour in the present pop scene.

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