The inventive and always entertaining Pain of Salvation return with their promised Road Salt Two. Like One, this album follows that Seventies and progressive rock motif; certainly the middle piece here, 1979, could define both discs. But don't expect some throw back to a grand and influential era. As with One, offers both a modern and alternative sound that should appeal to today's latte-sniffing alt rock wonks.
The more Seventies heavy and psychedelic rock arise in Softly She Cries and Condition. Certainly, both songs have the strangest guitar work across this platter. There is also a certain minimalism here. Healing Now, To The Shoreline, and the aforementioned 1979 find PoS toning down with acoustic guitar, and piano on the latter, for lighter reductionist fare. Through the Distance begins this way, only to get heavy two minutes in. Conversely, Eleven gets electric and blistering. Mortar Grind delivers a heavy, nearly stoner, motif, but is also rumbling and gritty tone like the album title; ethereal synths add some creepiness to the atmosphere. But Pain of Salvation still easily blends their intrigue and creativity with the familiar. The Physics of Gridlock and The Deeper Cut may remind some of more traditional late Seventies prog, only heavier and, within the former, a bit psychedelic
Throughout Two, Pain of Salvation is devastatingly eclectic and imaginative. With Softly She Cries, The Physics of Gridlock, and Mortar Grind you PoS, once more, at their most enigmatic best. As with One, Two requires repeated spins to digest. However, if one of those spins is done via headphones, I can't account for your mental state at the end. Hallucinations may follow.
Road Salt Two is a fine companion to it's predecessor. Pick up the set if you don't have the first. Strongly recommended.
Road Salt Two picks up where it's predecessor left, with Pain of Salvation at their most enigmatic and, therefore, most entertaining best. They call themselves the 'bravest band alive.' Could it be true?