Written by: Kev Rowland
Salander were the duo of Dave Curnow (Lead Guitars, Rhythm Guitars, Bowed Guitar, Vocals) and Dave Smith (Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars, Rhythm Guitars, Bass, Drum Programming, Vocals), and in just a few years together they released four albums and a couple of singles. ‘Stendec’ was their third album of 2014, and was announced with the following email “Ladies and Gentlemen, It gives me great pleasure to announce that at 8.04pm this evening Salander gave birth to a new album. Everyone is doing fine. We have called it STENDEC. It weighs in at 65 minutes and we hope it will have a bright future.” Okay, so this may have sat in my review pile for far longer than is usual, but I blame being sent too much material, plus writing books (which took may way longer than I ever expected!). It also means that I know that Salander are no longer in existence, with Dave Smith moving to Lanzarote and then forming Birzer Bandana (who to date have released two albums).
This release is a crossover album in its very truest sense, mixing progressive music with pop tendencies, acoustic singer songwriter with symphonic. They are quite Floydian at times, especially on some of the guitar solos, with are full of depth and emotion. In some ways this is at odds with the sound of the rest of the album, which feels little flat and without depth. I am sure that much of this is down to the use of programmed drums, and overall the album does come across as a home studio recording as opposed to something more professional. Some of the vocals have also been treated (I hesitate to say auto tune as it is so obvious that I am sure it must have been a deliberate effect), which isn’t to my personal taste either. But, there are times when it does all come together in a way that is really impassioned and quite wonderful. It would have been interesting to hear what these songs sounded like in a live environment and a full band, as that would have been quite different I am sure. But, the album is currently available for ‘name your price’ on Bandcamp, so why not give a try yourself?
1. Pearls Upon A Crown
2. Book Of Lies
3. Ever After
4. Hypothesis 11/8
5. Situation Disorientation
6. Controlled Flight Into Terrain