Significantly less metal than the name would suggest, this debut album Christchurch’s Salad Boys instead captures the jangle-pop of US ’80s college radio with Kiwi lo-fi grit. Hook-laden, smartly written pop music is the order of the day here. Singer/guitarist Joe Sampson‘s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde combination of clean open-strummed chords and wall of noise sonic assault may be reminiscent of ’80s Dinosaur Jr. on tracks like Daytime Television, but it’s the layers of slide guitars and Byrds-esque open tunings that really take these songs to greater heights. There’s bittersweet slacker anthems (Better Pickups), garage-pop nuggets (My Decay), frantic post-punk (No Taste Bomber) and good ole rock ‘n’ roll (Dream Date), but perhaps Salad Boys’ biggest talent is penning extremely catchy pop songs and making them sit comfortably in their own flesh. Also featuring bassist Ben Odering and James Sullivan on drums, ‘Metalmania’ walks the fine line between raw and polished, without sounding needlessly under-produced – oft a cliché in the genre. Recorded and mixed by Sampson and Doprah’s Steven Marr, mastered by Mikey Young and released on the band’s US indie label Trouble In Mind Records. There’s no attempt to make ‘Metalmania’ a song-cycle concept record, instead think the playfulness of The Clean with the songwriting talents of ‘Murmur’ era REM.