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Salty the Pocketknife: Salty the Pocketknife

My, my, my. Not only does this bizarrely named San Diego-based quartet make alternative progressive rock for adventurous listeners, but Salty the Pocketknife also boasts the guy who used to play Screech (a rather solid bass player named Dustin Diamond) on the inane television series Saved By the Bell. Intrigued? I was. But then I plopped on this 12-track disc that sounds like Frank Zappa beating up Rush, and it just plain grated on me. I guess I wasn't prepared to hear songs about menstruation ("Red Panties 145") and abortion ("Sever") sung by a chick named rosebud (note the lowercase "r") in a herky-jerky voice. She sorta sounds like the Wicked Witch of the West on some tracks, and although other critics have compared rosebud's voice to Chrissie Hynde, Fiona Apple and Beth Orton, I contend that it remains an acquired taste. But I eventually acquired that taste.

Formed from the remains of the avant-garde cult band Bug Guts (another curious name, no?), Salty the Pocketknife is not for the weak of heart. This debut album is a challenging listen with numerous musical layers and lyrical subtexts. In fact, after you get used to the music, it might be worth the effort to go back and figure out the words. On the band's web site, Diamond indicates that the cacophonous opener "Shiny Lies" is a "disturbing song in disguise" even though "most people aren't going to know what it's about." Count me among the majority for now, but I'm bound and determined to spin this disc until I figure out what the hell is going on here. It may take me awhile ...

Added: December 9th 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Sonance Records
Hits: 3334
Language: english

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