Exposé Online banner

Free Salamander Exhibit — Undestroyed
(Web of Mimicry WOM051, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-08-15

Undestroyed Cover art

Long-time readers will be aware that Sleepytime Gorilla Museum was the object of near cult-like adoration around the pages of Exposé, and we weren’t alone on that ledge. Their blend of extreme metal with pretty much anything else under the sun and a freaky artistic sensibility found lots of friends among fans of fringy music. Free Salamander Exhibit is the direct descendant of that band, with all four members having at some time or another played with SGM; Nils Frykdahl (guitar, flute, vocals), Dan Rathbun (bass, vocals, constructed instruments), David Shamrock (drums), and Michael Mellender (guitar, brass, vocals) are all alumni, though I’m pretty sure they were never all in the band at the same time. Drew Wheeler (guitar, theremin, vocals) also appears on this album. Stylistically, it’s very much a continuation of the avant-metal pioneered by SGM, with only Carla Kihlstedt’s violin and voice missing from the arrangements. This is music full of unexpected twists and turns — so much so that listeners just have to strap in and enjoy the ride. Crazy new visions lie around every corner, making Undestroyed a kind of sonic thrill ride, like a surreal attraction at a Bizarro World Disneyland designed by a committee consisting of Salvador Dalí, Mike Patton, Frank Zappa, Samuel Beckett, Erik Satie, John Kane, and a rotating cast of extra collaborators. To my ears, the fact that it sounds more or less like another Sleepytime album is no detraction at all. A style this scattered sonically is almost an anti-style, so producing another entry is not repetition. Listeners who hated the drastic mood-shifts of SGM will find no comfort here. This Theater of the Absurd is open for business, and the result is a treat for adventurous explorers.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Free Salamander Exhibit

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Oysterband - Rise Above – Oysterband, né The Oyster Band, has been developing their own mixture of British Isles folk music and rock for more than ten years. Rather than rocking up trad tunes (for the most part – there are...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues