Lebanese music veteran, Rabih Salloum, is best known for being one half of the now disbanded, Paris-based electro-pop duo, Slutterhouse, which saw him rise to fame alongside Nabil Saliba. That was some seven years ago, however, and after taking a hiatus to pursue projects outside of music, Salloum reemerged in 2018 without warning with new solo project, Grave Jones. He did so with the help of Lebanese producer, ETYEN, promptly releasing two-track EP, Before the Rain, which marked a shift away from the electro-pop sounds of Slutterhouse. Though very much playing with similar electronic elements, the EP saw Salloum take on a sound that merged dream pop, synthpop and ‘epic electronica’.
Two years and a spattering of releases later, Grave Jones has returned and taken Salloum even further away from the Slutterhouse style, moving into straight indie rock. Co-produced by ETYEN, ‘Young Lover’ still bears spiritual similarities to Salloum’s previous work, however. While there’s much more emphasis on percussion and guitar, bassy synths contribute to the track’s sort-of nostalgic melancholia, while high-paced synths come crashing through and heighten the drama.
Directed by Hassan Julien Chehouri, the video starts innocuously enough, showing a young, female protagonist waking up and getting ready to go out. Things take a turn, however, when the camera begins to track a trail of blood inside her apartment, leading to the balcony and a shot of Salloum waiting in a car in the street below. By the end, it’s revealed that the two are getting rid of a body, but not before stopping off at a church and McDonald's.
There’s been no indication of what or when Salloum might be planning and if the track is part of a larger release. If it is, seeing Salloum wade into a rawer, more emotional indie rock sound while maintaining the atmospherics of his previous work is a very welcome new direction.