I’ll admit it—I’m a month+ late to the Salem party. I don’t know what took me so long to show up, but after picking up their debut album King Night yesterday, I can safely say that I’m glad I took my time getting there. I knew Salem had the reputation for being dark, as does the entire “drag” slash “witch house” subgenre, but this album is DARK dark. Like hearing wind chimes play “Ring Around the Rosie” at 2am in an abandoned amusement park capital “d” Dark.
Need proof? Just give these two tracks a listen. I challenge you to get through both and not tell me that at some point during each you thought about turning your lights up a little brighter, regardless of whether you’re in the office, inside your house, or at the beach. (If you’re at the beach, why are you even reading this? Go surf. Or step on a jellyfish and pee on yourself.)
I decided to give King Night a listen while laying in bed last night. I got up to track eight, “Hound”, before I eventually fell asleep. (Not a knock on the record…I’m just old as hell.) What transpired in my dreamscape was the stuff of psychological horror: traversing down a soaking wet, never-ending spiral staircase; attending a funeral for a child in a bunny costume; sitting on an empty plane in turbulence with reruns of Friends airing on the in-flight televisions. Chilling stuff. To make matters worse, I woke up this morning and was convinced for the first hour of the day that I was still dreaming. It wasn’t until I got to work that I realized that no, this is indeed the waking nightmare that is now my life. You’re killing me, Salem!