Tad – Salt Lick (Used)
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**Used - Sleeve/ Media/ - 2016 Sub Pop reissue**
The second effort from Grunge pioneers TAD saw them working with Steve Albini for the first time and his renowned approach to noise is in evidence here. What might be thought of as a Grunge album, although its actually an EP, sounds like a metal excursion with heavy vocals and simple structures. This album is a band full of confidence with a swagger that is evident on every song. The feedback frenzy of Wood Goblins roars into your senses with a vibrancy that belies its traditional trappings. This sounds like the excesses of 80's metal but somehow more vibrant and colourful. The rolling and growling Potlatch is a triumphant moment where Tad somehow seem to marry the old and the new into a driving and thumping boom of energy.
The shame of it is that if things were left as they were this would be a powerful, short, punchy reminder of a band that deserved better than the footnote in Grunge history that they have become. The addition of the extra tracks detracts from the original material. Damaged is just a drawling great big fuck you of a number that tells you that you are stuck with it and yet you want to run away. Far away.
The other additional tracks are just more of the same. Perhaps the problem is that there isn't enough of a flow and mix here and it feels exactly like what it is. A very good EP with some filler added to the end. A little harsh perhaps but then again both TAD and Albini would learn on later efforts that a lighter touch is occasionally needed to smooth through the cracks. That they both learnt this lesson and produced greater efforts than this is probably the legacy we should remember from Salt Lick. It's the sound of a band and a producer finessing their craft for later efforts.