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Published October 19th 2011
Ben Salter formed self proclaimed 'intelligent hard rock' outfit Giants Of Science in the late nineties, who have thus far released two critically acclaimed albums and a pair of EPs, as well as performing with the likes of The MC5, Swervedriver, McLusky, JSBX and Radio Birdman.
In 2004, after five years of intensive touring with Giants, Salter began performing with a group of like-minded musicians he'd met at a weekly open mic night he hosted. A few hastily arranged recording sessions later, The Gin Club was born.
And now, after a decade of empty threats, he is finally releasing his début album The Cat under his own name.
The album was recorded and produced with Gareth Liddiard and Robert F. Cranny at Liddiard's rural studio in Havilah, Victoria.
The album features accompaniment from Gin Club members Gus Agars and Ola Karlsson on drums and bass respectively, while legendary Melbourne jazz saxophonist Julien Wilson, multi-instrumentalist Peter Novotnik, and Australian rock'n'roll notables Joel Silbersher, Tom Lyncolgn and Steve Hesketh also appear on the liner notes.
The Cat Track Listing: 1. The Cat 2. The Coward 3. Opportunities
4. The Mailbox Song 5. German Tourist 6. West End Girls
7. Know Your Strength
8. I am Not Ashamed
9. Things Fall Apart
10. So Tired Tonight
11. Once In A Lifetime
12. Last Night I Dreamt I Was Chasing You
The Cat was released in stores on August 5th independently through MGM distribution and I became aware of the whole idea while at the Hifi bar in West End.
It was fitting that I first saw Salter and heard the track West End Girls in a venue on Boundary Street and Salter's set fell between two amazingly brilliant, blues guitar shredding acts of blistering intensity. International blues legend, Robben Ford and preceded by the Guitar Bros. All Stars. While Salter plays with various accompaniments played by others on the album, at the show he stood alone on the stage with his acoustic guitar.
It was an amazing outpouring and all the more stand-out because the contrast his set made to the huge blues rock sound of the lead and following acts was jaw dropping.
The set was awesome and the whole reason I am writing this review. Salter is definitely one of the best Australia artists I have ever heard and being from Brisbane makes it even better.
The album is definitely worth checking out, by any and all ages, and whether you find it online, check Salter's website for upcoming shows or just go out and buy it, the album should be on any fan of music's to do list.
(Through an email to Ben Salter on his website, I was in turn emailed by Dom Miller of Bluebeard Music who is Ben Salter's manager. He was amazingly helpful in providing the source biography material and the album artwork featured in this article).