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Salem: I’m Still In The Night



Album: I’m Still In The Night

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Genuinely unnerving creep-pop phenomenon or laughably ineffectual goth-head twerps: Whatever else can be said about Salem, it doesn’t inspire indifference. The Midwest trio’s 2010 full-length debut King Night justifies both extremes, offering up the occasional startling moment conjured by blobby hip-hop beats, cheesily spook-tacular synths, and zombiefied choral voices, as well as loads of tedium that grind this limited set of tricks into tasteless musical mush. (When Salem starts rapping, head for the exits.) The four-song EP I’m Still In The Night is a moderately better vehicle for Salem’s modest charms than King Night: It’s shorter and therefore less repetitious, though even Still eventually wears out its welcome. Salem’s sound is generically described as horror-movie music, but the songs are so rooted in boilerplate formula they quickly lose their power to disturb. As with King Night, Still’s best song is the title track, which sets a mood of disembodied mania with its tribal chants over booming drum machines and tortured keyboards. From there, things go sharply downhill. (The less said about the embarrassingly misogynistic rap song “Krawl,” the better.) I’m Still In The Night hasn’t improved Salem’s record of one good song per release, but at least there’s less wince-inducing filler to set aside this time.