Salem, 'King Night' (IAMSOUND)

4
King Night
Critical Mass
Label: IAMSOUND

by Mike Powell

Salem are three melancholy Michigan youths who set leaden hip-hop beats adrift in vast goth atmospherics. The vocals are often pitched down into funny-demon registers, the synths are perpetually crumbling, and the strongest hook is taken from "O Holy Night." Seedy, feel-bad music. Half-dead, sometimes gorgeous, and willfully dumb beyond repair. Call it alienation porn. Sound awful? Well, it is kind of awful -- and rivetingly so. One band member claims they "aren't going for anything, ever," and nowhere they go. Trash, art, or stunt? In the few effective moments, it's all three.

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