Friday, December 1, 2023
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Saloon Dion – Muckers Review

No, not Canadian singer Celine Dion, you read Saloon Dion right. Mind the gap. Stop off at the Bristol post-punk scene and take in Muckers for its four lovely tracks. There is something about this four-track EP which feels familiar. The right sort of familiar, though, which still leaves room for the unique charms the post-punk’s modern turn continues to offer. Saloon Dion gets mucked right into Muckers, a collection of tunes the band has held onto for some time. Pretty nasty of them to wait so long to release such good music, but better late than never. Tut away and enjoy. Push the well-wishers away, engage the heavy strokes of their electric guitars, the engulfing percussion, and the confidence of their vocals. A perfect bag of essentials. 

Deduct a few marks for the sunny skies and the lush breeze flowing through the window as Saloon Dion kicks it up a notch, but add them right back on for how well they slot into this post-punk charm. Get it blasted out as loud as possible, eventually, it’ll be loud enough to drown out the neighbour’s dog who keeps on barking. Muckers are great fuel for the ever-growing bonfire of confident and heavy guitar-led tones the post-punk scene is featuring. There is a sense through Happiness most of all how Saloon Dion feels about creativity. They just seem to love it, and their heavy-set schedule of releases, the sincerity which crashes through their four-track EP here, highlights that. It is a warm feeling and a welcome one too. Saloon Dion brings on the pratfalls of the real world too, they are not just dreamers.  

Heaven Sent brings this into a stark and focused view. Room and board are not optional unfortunately and the heavy-set instrumentals here are almost enough to blow your hayfever away. Not quite though, and thankfully listening to music is not dependent on vision. With one eyelid glued shut and bloodshot, it is nice to hear Saloon Dion cry out about affording their room and board. Key experiences, earnest momentum and a rallying charge basing itself often on the guitar work which tends to be given a little bit of an edge when it comes to mixing it all together. Rightly so, and with the spoken-word guilt and fear of the closing moments, a Russell Senior meets James Smith briefness of frank disgust, Muckers is given another tremendous edge. One of many. 

Jagged, powerful and a wonderful experience all in all. Post-punk is not the harsh and unremitting rage but the riffs and whistling powers which come through relentless quality and what, to caffeinated and sleep-deprived minds, sounds like a wooden cowbell on final track You Want More. Yes, we do. How can we not want more from Saloon Dion? Our hearts will go on until then. But Muckers is a gorgeous palette of what to expect next. Cling to it, for now, there is little else brushing the same homegrown, rooted styles of the whining tones which feed the soul. Saloon Dion does just that. Bang their drum. Keep on whacking away until they can no longer sleep, left with no choice but to feed the beast. Offer up more. An EP which sticks in the mind with a hand on its heart and its head in the muck.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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