The three-track EP barely stretches over seven minutes, but through careful and intricate performance, Salad Days are the beginnings of Fugazi’s foundation. The warning signs are there, not entirely basing the records sound in hardcore.
Instead, the three tracks here are “Stumped,” “Good Guys (Don’t Wear White),” which is a cover of The Standells track, and we have the finale of “Salad Days.” The title track leads the record off in a fiery burst of memories and nostalgia coming through the mosh pits and struggles for the microphone in the crowd.
Ian MacKaye on vocals takes Lyle Preslar on guitar, a meeting of the hands-on strings with Brian Baker on bass, and then finally Jeff Nelson on the percussion. Collectively, Salad Days is a perfected adventure through youth and the discovery of travel between performances.
The opening piece, “Salad Days” appears as the title track and works in some elements of extreme change in Minor Threat’s sound. The relation to hardcore and aggression isn’t completely gone, but the mixing is much cleaner and well defined. It resembles more of working toward the blurred lines of Fugazi and Minor Threat where the end is near, but the one-two stepping is still a factor.
Instrumentally, “Salad Days” as a track is energized and has this motion of tension in the first 20 seconds or so while the strings build and construct this pulsing method. Drums are slowly added and there are these chimes that become one of the most recognizable pieces of the track.
As MacKaye varies between shouts and spoken word, he illustrates, “Wishing for the days, when I first wore this suit. Baby has grown older, it’s no longer cute. Too many voices, they’ve made me mute.” While the golden years and good ol’ days are behind MacKaye in this setting.
The following piece, “Stumped” is a lumbering giant of a track that begins in a similar fashion to “Salad Days.” Orchestrating this crescendo of progression. Minor Threat in these instances are fascinating to see as a consciously shapeshifting group. From their earliest days of fast, breakneck speeds, to now with Salad Days as it appears that their entire discography changes to be wiser, more mature even.
Hard to imagine this would be the last release from the band, but as separation occurs; the heart grows fonder of what was to be. Never being alive when Minor Threat was an idea, Salad Days gives a fantastic final glimpse into the spirit of classic hardcore.