Salem 66 - Natural Disasters, National Treasures (1988) Salem 66 - Down the Primrose Path (1990)
Led by two Massachusetts singer/songwriters, Salem 66 played generally delicate electric guitar music that embraced folk more than rock traditions. The trio's six-song debut EP — produced by Neighborhoods guitarist David Minehan — has plenty of poetic ambience and some surprisingly complex arrangements, but consistent jangly-trebly sound makes it hard to stay engrossed, and occasional bum notes also interrupt the mood. Guitarist Judy Grunwald and bassist Beth Kaplan both sing, but their voices don't harmonize all that well.
With the arrival of a new guitarist, the Salems became a quartet for A Ripping Spin, a full-length LP also produced by Minehan. The songs and playing are better, but the vocals are still hit-and-miss. Kaplan takes an indecisive approach to the issue; Grunwald's gurgly warble can also be a trial. The brief "Fragile" shows their potential, but other tunes are less mellifluous.
A guitarist switch brought Stephen Smith into the lineup for Frequency and Urgency, which resulted in noticeably improved music on the Ethan James-produced album. With stronger, more assured p
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