Delay Me Down and Make Me Wah Wah (Meltdown)
by Sheril Stanford
Swedish band Salt made a name for itself last year with “Bluster,” the appropriately-titled single from its debut full-length, Auscultate (“I’d really like to know you, I’d really like to know some of you…”). The name it made for itself was Elastica – “the thinking person’s Elastica,” “a harder rocking Elastica,” “Elastica, but with more powerful vocals.” You get the idea. The comparison was more convenient than accurate. Nina Ramsby’s vocals have much more in common with Joan Jett than Justine Frischmann, and Salt’s lyrics on Auscultate were much more complex than any sex-type thing Elastica ever sang about.Auscultate is a high-priced word for “listen.” With this collection of B-sides and previously unreleased cuts, Salt moved away from the intellectual and in the opposite direction, with the goofy name Delay Me Down and Make Me Wah Wah!! And rightfully so – this compilation simply doesn’t deserve a pricey title. Unfortunately, you can see why these cuts were heretofore unreleased – no single song rises to the level of “Bluster” or, in fact, any of the tracks on Salt’s earlier effort. “Fragile” isn’t bad, but it owes a big debt of gratitude to Ramsby’s vocals, which carry the song. In fact, the vocals pretty much carry the whole collection. The bass line on “Less Assured” is a blatant rip off of “Bluster.” As with much of the disc, you get the distinct impression that the band was coasting – the writing is superficial and the playing is phoned in. Possible exceptions are “Good God” (“Good God, I’ve got you floating inside my own parts, I feel ashamed, but that’s the only way I’ll ever be” ), “Into Water,” gently rhythmic and spare, with a haunting bass line, drums and vocals, and possibly “Borth,” a 15 second discordant scream of “Suicide!” If you listened to just that one track, you’d think a Digital Hardcore band had blundered onto this disc by mistake. And you’d have a horrible misunderstanding of Delay Me Down… The rest of the disc is poppy pap, banal and predictable. Maybe they needed the money.