The start of the month is always an exciting time around these parts.
Not least because of Newcastle label, Cruel Nature Records’ monthly drop, which is starting to feel like there are 12 extra Christmases every year. This time we are greeted by Anglo-American outfit, Salisman & His Hermetic Order.
Spearheaded by Chicago heads, Paul Foreman and Travis Salisbury, the pair are joined by Tyneside native, Chris Tate, better known for his own projects, Score, One Key Magic and d_rradio. Following their 2020 debut, Absolution, Salisman & His Hermetic Order return with Clairvoyance.
In their own words, Salisman & His Hermetic Order “are the milk in the synthesizer” and “the rum between the sofa cushions”. They also describe themselves as “fleeting moments in the floral breeze”. Admissions that are wildly accurate, and with the spell-binding Clairvoyance, they deliver a genre-surfing odyssey that provides excellent results.
With wispy soundscapes underpinned by a gentle melodic thrum and ringing pedal steel guitar, it all beings with Roy Haynes’ Famous Flat Ride. Pulling us into their breezy outer world, suddenly all stress and worry is a distant memory. Think outlaw country with a fist-full of psychedelics and you won’t be too far off the mark.
With a floating-in-the-ether vibe, Crystal Window Hangings follows. Salisman & His Hermetic Order take the template of Radiohead and toss it in a butcher’s mincer. Is it dream-pop? Or krautrock? Actually, it’s a blend of both, as technicoloured fairy dust scatters across the open fields. Later, the blissed-out Fealty to the Earl and the acidic waltz of Zip Tie are tracks truly immersed in these vast spaces.
On Ether, Foreman goes full Thom Yorke, producing the kind of timeless pop ditty that would weave into any generation of songwriting.
Salisman & His Hermetic Order’s tourism of sound continues with I Sky, as the band take us on an exploration that ends with something like Autolux on the downers. Occupying the same world as the fabulous Activity, it’s pure fucking bliss, really.
The journey ends with the downright epic, Geez, Another Trauma. 10 minutes bursting with harmonies that echo all the way down the street and a melody that almost brings a tear to the eye. It’s a resounding end to a record that is pure escapism, minus the new age hippified nonsense.
Filled with rich arrangements, Clairvoyance is an album that reaches great depths. Not a moment is wasted, with Salisman & His Hermetic Order showcasing a high level of commitment and conviction.
Instead of hoodwinking their audience with the swathe of nauseating sing-speak drones, Salisman & His Hermetic Order are exactly the kind of band the likes of BBC Radio 6 Music should be championing. A band providing something inventive and oddly original, slightly left of centre but with enough to break through the fourth wall.
It’s shouldn’t be understated. Clairvoyance is the first great record of 2022.