L.A. Salami: Dancing With Bad Grammar

Can you make counter-culture something for everyone?

- Being hailed as the musical poet you’ve been craving since Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell is not only the highest of salutations but, sadly, also the most damning of comparisons. Londoner, poet and guitar picker and bitumen bohemian Lookman Adekunle Salami, or more absurdly L.A. Salami, is the recipient of this bittersweet accolade.

I get it, I too want someone as sensual as Joni or as counter as Bob, to come around stir the emotions and shake up perception, but I don’t want to ape those ageing icons. Modern embodiments of the sensuous and counter-cultural, representations of what is vital now, are here and celebrated - just check out Ibeyi and Deathgrips. The timid and aloof sounds of youths, such as L.A., referencing those boomer darlings, well it only serves to illustrate that certain old people are out of touch.

But, you know, Salami. He goes alright. After a couple of EPs full of musings and acoustic doodlings, he’s been picked up and nurtured into releasing an album, Dancing With Bad Grammar. It’s an interesting affair filled a young man coming to terms with the world. As a budding boho, it’s your usual stuff: love and affection, jobs that are distracting, societal roles and cultural black holes. You know, stuff that lifts you up and stuff that gets you down as a young, metropolitan man.

The lead single, The City Nowadays, flirts with potential; it wants to be John Cooper Clark, it wants to be Babyshambles but it remains unconvincing as L.A. -trying to make sense- sounds unconvinced, espousing current cultural doctrines. He is quite the storyteller, though. When allowed to dabble with his guitar, his winding tales, Why Don’t You Help Me and Day To Day, do exude pleasing amounts of humanity. However hackneyed some of the lyrics may be, seven or eight minutes will easily trickle by.

I always want to champion the young bohos but Salami’s Dancing lost me at the same point that Atlanta’s Raury did with his debut, rounding the cutting edges off your creativity to suit a wide market. These overwrought attempts to mix the enticingly fun with the provocatively meaningful are stifling the vibe.

- NJR.

Album Details

Album Title: Dancing With Bad Grammar
Artist: L.A. Salami
Record Label: (Domino / EMI)