Ellie Kamio might be the only singer in London to have a venue named after her. She might also be the only singer in London to have willingly covered herself in corn syrup and food colouring for a music video this year, the disgustingly gloopy ‘Diseasy’ that her bandmates Paul and Simon wisely stayed out of.
Sälen’s songs don’t necessarily delve deep into the human psyche. They steer clear of masterbatory chord progressions and $5 words. With Ellie’s sugary vocals and the band’s tendency to plinky-plonk, some songs sound like nursery rhymes for millennials stuck in arrested development – but, like most nursery rhymes, they tell darker stories than they pretend to. “I can taste the teeth dying in my mouth” isn’t the most Top of the Pops friendly opening line you’ve ever heard but who hasn’t worried that their body is starting to rot after a particularly heavy night with inappropriate company? ‘The Drwg’ could just as easily be about addictive pharmaceuticals as a new lover you’d happily ditch all your friends to hang with, while their most recent single, ‘Copper Kiss’… well, we’ll let Urban Dictionary fill you in on that one. The band’s preoccupations feel very specific and very general all at once; and they’re all underpinned by moreish top lines and chill beats. There’s one upcoming song that sounds like Ace of Base if Ace of Base had been born in 1997 – and that’s a sound we can absolutely get on board with.
As willing to declare emoji over (“Have you seen the new gun? It’s so shit”) as they are to demand a live snake for their next video, Sälen’s slinky, groove-laden pop songs are exactly the kind of louche ear candy that we’re all going to need to get us through 2017.