At first glance, the studied Belew fan would think this is a compilation of tracks from his last several albums, including some King Crimson material. My copy said nothing about them being performed completely solo. Acoustic guitar and vocal stripped down and standing proud. A precursor and very limited release, The Acoustic Adrian Belew , foreshadowed Salad Days , though this one contains sixteen tracks in their bare essence.
Wow. Magnificent. Simple. This is not regular rock or regular alternative, so, by default, I suppose it is irregular something. If your face were perfectly symmetrical it would look goofy; its character is derived from its irregularities. But character aside, each tune comes packed with a well-planned flawlessly flowing melody and ultra creative and capable guitar work. Okay, there are some exceptions; a few feature some percussion or a trap set, sparingly. And a couple substitute piano for guitar, which make great palate cleansers, as well as some experiments. “Things You Hit With A Stick” is just what it sounds like. “Return Of The Chicken” sounds as if Adrian is running through his sets of patches and samples.
Some of the songs that were not necessarily my favorites on their respective albums had a whole new life breathed into them. Adrian’s guitar playing glows with a crisp, elegant touch, and his vocals shine with the same transparent brilliance.
Salad Days shows the variety of fields Adrian can master, and the energy he puts into whatever choices he makes as an artist.
Thirsty Ear Recordings, 274 Madison Ave., Suite 804, New York, NY 10016; http://www.thirstyear.com