If We Meet in the Future by Saloon (Review)

If this does turn out to be the band’s last release, then it is a good note to go out on.
If We Meet in the Future - Saloon

Just when I’ve found it, it’s gone. This month, 3 of Saloon’s 5 members decided to depart from the band. That doesn’t mean it’s all over for the group, but the Saloon that I’ve very recently just gotten to known is, at least for now, not to be. Which is unfortunate, because If We Meet In The Future, the second album from this English retro synth-pop outfit, has quite a lot of good things going for it. I can only hope, then, that the new Saloon, whatever it might look like, will create something like this record.

I urge Saloon, when they get back together, to make something like the opener, “Vesuvius,” a rocker that chugs along with repetitive guitar couplets, funky bass, and a loud buzzing organ. It’s a strong musical statement with a kick. The new Saloon would do well to make something as breezy, sunny, poppy, and relaxed as “Absense,” or perhaps as slow and pretty as “¿Que Quieres?” (sung in Spanish). This opening trio is some of the nicest stuff on the album, and the new Saloon could do good to make something in the same vein.

Or how about exploring more psychedelic tracks like “Kaspian” and “The Sound Of Thinking”? The former, lying at the center of the album, is jazzy and dark, while the latter is the loudest cut on the album, moving towards the record’s end with a swirl of loud drums, fuzzy guitar, and bouncy bass. The next Saloon should also try some ballads, like “Dreams Mean Nothing,” which sways along with synth piano and melodica, or like the album closer “I Could Have Loved a Tyrant,” which drifts away on strings and mellow guitar.

Fortunately, whatever the next Saloon may look like, I’m happy to know that it will include the heart of the former band, singer Amanda Gomez. Her soft vocals bring to mind the vocalists of other space pop bands like Stereolab and Broadcast, and give the music a gentle touch.

The Saloon-that-used-to-be used simple instrumentation: guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards for the most part, creating straightforward, breezy pop songs, accentuated by the vocals of Amanda Gomez. The new Saloon needn’t change that formula, although it might do them some good; If We Meet In The Future sounds at times uninspired and nondescript.

Since three of the band’s five members left, the future of Saloon is, of course, doubtful. If this does turn out to be the band’s last release, then it is a good note to go out on; it’s just unfortunate the band couldn’t develop their brand of spacey, retro pop further. Here’s hoping, though, that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Saloon, and maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll heed my advice.

Written by Richie DeMaria.

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