Folk music is slowly creeping it’s way into other genres. The Salt Flats have just released their self titled E.P. and while their songs are steeped in folk, have added an electronic dimension to proceedings.
The E.P. opens with ‘Sail Away To The Sea’, here The Salt Flats have let the vocals and just a kick drum drive the song until the choral refrain. When all the instruments do come in, there’s a good balance. The memorable melody, subtle bass line and interesting aural decoration make this track probably the one most accessible and destined for radio.
‘Sweet Minerva’ starts with female harmonies and percussion but it’s the double time change in tempo that keeps this track moving. An accordion heralds ‘Pulling The Sea Dulse’. The uptempo track again uses the female vocals to root the song in folk when the instrumentation allows it to live happily in the 21st century. This is quite addictive and seriously danceable but this seems to cloud the lyrical content a bit.
The E.P. closes with .’Blackwaterside’, which has all the hallmarks of a folk song but all has some modern hooks including clever reversed samples. Female vocals and harmonies, in a traditional folk style are accompanied by contemporary beats as well as pipes and whistles. This actually has a soundtrack feel so it’s not surprising to learn that one of the quartet, Mark Gordon, actually makes music for television.
This is a captivating project and the Belfast/Tynemouth quartet have brought together influences and genres aren’t normally associated with each other. It will be interesting to see how far they can push it in the future.