Fat Salt & Flame (Sandwich, 2013)

PhotoGrid_1463069239517Fat Salt & Flame opens with grinding of the axes that segues into a series of build up and release – a layer cake of feedback and guitar screech. Around the two minute mark, you start to wonder – either they forgot the lyrics or somebody forgot to switch on the mic. But it never overstays its welcome – it actually feels shorter than its actual length. Pretty much like the whole album.

Fat Salt & Flame marks Sandwich’s fifteen years as a band (or shall I say Sandwich S-marks their anniversary with a BBQ-flavored disc). It’s a celebration in a rock-band kind of way. And there’s no better way of celebrating fifteen years together, than going to the studio to bake your birthday cake.

After the raucous title track, comes Track No. 2, the first single that has a very important message to say – Sandwich is here to stay. Track No. 6 is, for better or worse, typical Sandwich on assault mode. The proceedings take a different turn on Track No. 8. Here, Mong Alcaraz and Myrene Academia take turns on the mic, delivering the sweetest bitter lines on top of Mike Dizon’s skipping rhythm – it’s heartbreakingly beautiful. Ultimately, Track No. 9 closes the album with an epic guitar solo that’s really effing good – they should actually do this kind of shit, more often.

Despite being another birthday bash of sorts, FS&F does not come off as mishmash of things we’ve come to love and expect from Sandwich. This might be intentional since they did that already with <S> Marks the Spot, their tenth-year album. <S> Marks was roller-coaster ride, with small and big surprises revealed in every twisted turn. FS&F, on the other hand, upholds the same narrowed scope and focus of their previous (and arguably best) outing, Contra Tiempo, with a dash of moon dust from Thanks To the Moon’s.

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