The Salamanders play garage country spiked with reverb surf guitar, dipped in Chuck Berry riffs and slathered in fiery punk flavor. On Hellbender, the Bozeman band shows a sneaky ability to lure you in with a flirtatious intro before taking you on a wild ride through Appalachian landscapes dotted with whirlwind guitar solos.
"Black Genie" starts with a bump-and-grind intro, then hurls itself into a rockabilly hurricane seasoned with minor key pop punk à la the Ramones. The twangy "Sugar Tree" takes pause before exploding into a dance song that could induce a room of pomade-styled boys and girls to break out in the jitterbug. "We Got the Twist" builds walls of whining guitar and fuzz over what could be a Dead Milk-men bassline. It's all kind of familiar, but genuinely contagious. Some songs, like "Gasoline" and "Future Shock," don't quite get off the ground in comparison, but only because they're just good, not electric.
If you loved Bozeman's now-disbanded The Touchers, whose albums overflowed with galloping, neurotic madness, you'll find comfort in the Salamanders. At any rate, it's the kind of cool group I daydream about fronting, though I could never beat Peter King's sassy, gravelly vocals.
The Salamanders play the Palace Saturday, Feb. 6, at 9 PM with Out the Lights, Rooster Sauce and Logan Dachtler. $5.