There are times when being introduced to something new can rearrange your view of aesthetics, art and the like. There’s not enough room here to explore the idea of music being a more emotional or visceral experience—or whether the pop-ists or rockists are ultimately right about anything—but this Veneer record might be central to that debate. Yesterday’s Freshies is full of respect for its influences but never slides into being lazy or derivative—it’s a perfect blend of subtle connection and in your face charisma, and a prime example of the punk aesthetic commandeering the pop genre. Think perhaps the New York Dolls sharing a whiskey sour with Pulp, or even Dream Syndicate if they were sipping a deep port in the back alley. Freshies seems to examine the confusion that comes with being an artist in our current circumstances and advances a certain acceptance at being a perpetual outsider. It’s an albums worth of attempts at reconciliation, but the final verdict remains ambiguous at best. Every song seems to be a soul-searching exercise, each leading into the next set of story-of-my-life rock ‘n’ roll self-examination. These kind of literary exercises are what separate the average records from the potentially timeless, and Freshies aims to explores these kind of high-art narrative strains. Songs like “Dreamwalker” display a palpable tension between the inner landscape and the external rhythms of life, and excitement of living—and failure that sometimes comes with it—are everywhere on this album. See: “Growing Up,” with its wrestling between conception and perception, the surrender of one’s self into an accepted pose and the search nonetheless for a true identity and experience.
Pat Salway is the guy—or the cosmic receiver for the workings of a certain specific rock ‘n’ roll spirit, as he tells it—behind the band Veneer, whose “Idiot Savant” is raggedly charming Bowie-Lou street rock that sounds like it broke off the leading edge of 1976. (Especially a record like this.) Veneer’s Yesterday’s Freshies (which includes contributions by Rachel Rufrano, Justin Janer and the Buttertones‘ London Guzman) came out on Burger last fall—read our review—and you can snag a copy for yourself here, and keep an eye-slash-ear on Salway and Veneer here.
Pat Salway is currently back at Jazz Cats recording the fourth VENEER album, Blone Noble and the Cynical Mystics.
“Yesterday’s Freshies” is out now on Burger Records
The Casual Magic LP is available HERE
Casual Magic and Chainspreader can be found on all major streaming and download services.