CD Review 

A FACE ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE: SALTLICK

One onomatopoeia can describe Saltlick: twang. I usually regard twang as a nausea-inducing element of country music. These guys, however, have managed to channel the twang through an unpretentious underground spirit. This is definitely not the same tacky twang that makes me avoid most mainstream country. Rather, it is the freshest twang I have never heard. But enough with the twang. Saltlick mixes this element with other ingredients that have made music from the Pacific Northwest great (they're from Eugene). The lyrics come to life through a voice that sounds like a close friend telling you stories. The music is thick with smooth and subtle guitar work. There are even some beautifully humble solos that fit perfectly into the context of Saltlick's location and nicely accent the alt-country.

On "Train Store,"a representative track of Saltlick's allure, there's a noisy intro followed by a raw, lively guitar. The riff elevates the listener with a completely uplifting but modest anthem. The organ in the background forced a smile onto my face.

A Face Only a Mother Could Love never disappoints. Perhaps the reason I found Saltlick so listenable, is because they aren't asking too much of the listener. The entire album is simple and genuine. It's as if they simply show up, play their tunes, and expect nothing of the audience. With this modest and welcoming approach, Saltlick is capable of keeping one's attention. I get the feeling, however, that they'd be just as thrilled singing their songs to no one.

--Jackson Smith

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