The Salty Tenders deliver The Chats energy with a screamo touch on ‘Entrée’

The debut EP from unapologetic rockers The Salty Tenders boasts a serving of Australian culture and made-for-the-mosh-pit hooks.

The Salty Tenders served up their debut EP Entrée on Paul Kelly’s gravy day (December 21), so I knew I was in for a dose of hearty Aussie music. And hearty Aussie music is what I received.

Entrée sounds like the theme music for a heavily-graffitied skatepark, or what you’d listen to eating some fish and chips on a windy coastline before a night out. In other words; raw, energetic Australian rock. Let’s take a closer look.

The Salty Tenders
Photo: B.Cavanagh

Before delving into the tracklist, it’s worth understanding the backstory of the trio. Josh Cusack (vocals and bass) and Carl Matthews (guitar) met while working together at the cornerstone venue of adolescence and mischief: Macca’s. Meanwhile, at school, Carl was using his high-school lunchtimes to sneak out to the music room and jam out with Riley Johnson (drums). After those teenage years, the troublesome trio ended up covering a Modest Mouse tune for a talent show, stealing the second place prize from a former-dancer of the Justice Crew. Get wrecked, pretty boy!

Since then, the lads have been practising with a petrol generator at an industrial car park at Asquith (you read that right) and perfecting their grungy chops. The unconventional practice point must have worked out because, for the last five years, the boys have been touring ’round NSW, QLD, and Indonesia. At long last, fans from the moshpits have an EP (recorded at The Grove Studios, no less) to blast at home.

“I don’t know if you’re ready to taste this shit!” is Cusack’s message of caution on opener Have A Taste. For fans of head-bopping, I’d recommend taking a bite. The track reeks of fellow Aussie rockers The Chats and has a tried and true loud-soft dynamic thing going for it. Cusack’s unrelenting scream, however, is unique, strengthened and moulded from their years of touring.

Over the sound of unapologetic overdrive comes the belting hook Lemon, lime and bitters!” on the aptly-titled second track Lemon, lime and bitters. This is The Salty Tenders at their musical zenith; cheeky, Australian, catchy, and punk. Slower jam Bad Dreams showcases the softer side of the lads, as listeners are treated to some sunny electric guitar fingerpicking. Lyrics dip into the personal, as drummer Johnson exercises commendable restraint amidst the fills. Paranoid picks up the pace with some busy bass work and a punch-to-the-gut chorus: “Someday soon enough, you’re gonna get done.”

Entrée EP: Artwork by Illaart

The Resin Song kicks off with an intentionally out of tune bass note, signalling that this track is pure cheek. It’s a breezy sleight of rock that keeps you listening as the lyrics increase in ridiculousness. The whistled post-chorus is a great touch, especially for a song entirely about Cusack’s experiences with resin. Closing track Rockstars is undeniably one of the stronger cuts, destined for crowd singalongs. The tight rhythm section, feedback-ridden solo, and chugging strums sound like a rock band that knows where they’re going.

“We gonna be motha-fucking rockstars!” belts the trio on the final chorus. You could try to tell the lads that they’re dreaming, but they wouldn’t hear you and neither would the audience, honestly.

Listen to the EP below or give them a review on Triple J Unearthed here.

Up next: You can swap The Chats’ latest record for drugs, new infomercial claims.