L.A. Salami's Bad Grammar = Great Songs
L.A. Salami sounds like a great made up name for a singer songwriter doesn't it? Well it is a real name, this guy is probably still known by his parents as Lookman Adekunle Salami. He has sound-tracked a Burberry advert and Fred Perry, the clothing company, has referred to him as a talent like Joni Mitchell or Neil Young. On top of this Esquire Magazine once included him in their top ten list of the 'Most Stylish Men In Music'. All that stuff is high praise indeed, but given who is applying that praise is this a case of style over substance?
I am pleased to say that whilst L.A. has a lot of style indeed he also has an awful lot when it comes to substance. His songs are personal, political and very easy on the ear. It's also great to hear someone singing in an unashamedly British accent rather than a fake American enunciation.
I understand that 'Dancing With Bad Grammar' is his first album, following the release of a couple of EPs over the last few years. It is a fully rounded and incredibly accomplished album too. L.A. Salami has a very distinctive voice and when you listen to this album I'm sure you will see where the Neil Young comparison comes from, particularly on some of the more gentle tracks. But don't be fooled, this dude can really rock out too, especially on songs such as "I Wear This Because Life Is War".
Even Jezza Corbyn gets a mention, is L.A. Salami the first artist to mention the embattled Labour leader in a song? Certainly among the first if not the first. The line is 'I'm feeling tardy, late to the Jeremy Corbyn party' from the rousing and at times mildly menacing "The City Nowadays"which is currently one of my favourite songs from the album.
He has a great singing voice and a unique style of rap speaking which because of it's very essence being so rooted in Englishness reminds me of Mike Skinner of the Streets or perhaps even Kate Tempest. I think the latter is also because Salami's lyrics could well work as poetry rather than just lyrics.
This is a really enjoyable album in which I have found something new on every listen so far. I am listening to it for the fourth time as I put this review together. It's definitely a grower of a long player. Many of the songs are story songs and in a lot of cases appear to describe Salami's own day to day existence by bringing in the mundane and trivial and contrasting it with much bigger issues. "Day To Day" refers to some paisley clothes and also to the 7/7 terrorist attacks. If Shuggie Otis and Bob Dylan had been spliced together in some kind of clone farm and then injected with British genes the result might sound a little like L.A. Salami. I can see myself chilling out to this record often. Give it a spin yourself, you won't be disappointed.