Innovation at its peak always requires a change in the atmosphere. Music and art as a generalization is very similar to a pair of clothes, they cannot be the same day after day and must be changed. Through Minor Threat’s youthful title of Salad Days which hit years before Mac Demarco would ever brace a guitar, years before Kanye made Yeezus, and what feels as decades before half of the fans would even be born.
Released in the summer heat of 1985, the dirt colored and stained black and white photograph that would become the very staple of punk rock illustrated quickly the coming age of youth performance and craftsmanship. Minor Threat was in a league that had similar players, but none could replicate the exact spark that the band had. From their very independent styling of musical ability, the disdain for the record labels, and a potential to break into a major market with a very unmarketable style. Essentially, music fans loved them and record companies hated them.
Salad Days which works more as an EP takes that love for music and portrays it on a silver platter that ignores the punk rock roots of early Minor Threat and feels more melodic and approachable as an audience coming from the outside. Quite simply, it is easier on the ears than the rough 1-2 step of their usual workings. Surprisingly still a catchy reminiscence of the final days of Minor Threat, it would be ignorant to simply wash them aside as only fast strumming, high tension workers.
From the usages of the chimes, or even the acoustic guitar; there is a drastic change within the sound of Salad Days. It could still be recognized as a Minor Threat ensemble, but perhaps it was a side venture as Code Orange did Adventures. It was different from the normality, but created this interesting dichotomy of work from the band, who worked to shape an entire generation of a sound.
It is within the final track, the remake of The Standells’ “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” renamed under the simple “Good Guys” that provides a perfect look into the sound change. It is catchy and feels more carefree with that hardcore edge still strung over MacKaye’s vocals. It could be the rather shallow chorus that is engrained into the listener’s head, or the way the guitars swing in the wind, or maybe just the charisma that Minor Threat had.
In any sense, Minor Threat holds a grasp on the punk rock world and just about anyone who knows anything about punk knows Minor Threat. Salad Days however flew a little under the radar and opened the final coffin for the band as they disbanded in 1983, two years before the record would ever hit the scene.