Release Date: 28 September 2010. Attributes: Discs: 1. Label: Iamsound ( IMSD ). Product Type: Compact Disc. Catalog : 42. UPC: 656605799322. Configuration: D: CD. A dark mystique has surrounded Salem since the trio released its debut EP, Yes I Smoke Crack, in 2008. The ominous imagery of their album artwork, the tales of John Holland’s teenage prostitution and drug use and their place among the creators of the witch house/drag style gave the band something of a mythic quality even before their first full-length, King Night, was released. Over the course of their prolific singles and EPs, Holland, John Donoghue and Heather Marlatt shaped a sound that was as distinctive as it was improbable, fusing beats descended from juke and Southern hip-hop, electronics with a goth bent and shoegazing guitars into something deeply weird and trippy but also surprisingly natural, as if those elements had just been waiting to be combined. On the surface, goth and hip-hop may not have much in common, but they often share a bleak romanticism that Salem has in spades. King Night’s title track blends choral vocals, suffocating synths and a tinny beat that is so obviously, proudly mechanical that it adds extra coldness while nodding to hip-hop. Killer boasts guitars so heavy they could have come from a Sunn 0))) album, while Traxx uses a sample of rattling chains as percussion. Thanks to having three writers and vocalists, the band is also good at adding depth and variety to a style that could seem like a novelty. Marlatt sounds like a fallen angel, adding credence to Salem’s goth undercurrents with darkly ethereal tones that evoke the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil on Frost and the beautiful Redlights, one of the band s earliest and most definitive songs. Any small rays of hope raised by her songs are dashed by Donoghue’s tracks, which very well may be the heart of Salem’s unsettling darkness.