Sälen rules, and here’s the proof

Glossy pop with a Rated-R twist.

February 16, 2018

The FADER's weekly column What Rules highlights one of our office's new obsessions.

Who are they?

Name: Sälen
Style: The pop trio — made up of Ellie Kamio, Paul Wale, and Simon Milner — offers up bubble-gum-bright songs that are as sweet as they are edgy. Their social accounts have recently been scrubbed, but if that means what I think it means, let's not mourn the end of Salën — celebrate that they were here at all.
Location: London

Why should I listen?

There's no shortage of pop acts with expensive-sounding production and sticky hooks, but few of them have the real-life appeal of Salën. Frontperson Ellie Kamio has a voice like honey, a perfect foil for the band's left-of-center songwriting, where things like drugs and extramarital sex are treated with the seriousness they deserve. Songs like "Diseasey" and "I Am Champagne" are ideal millennial pop — romance and friendship and deeply felt emotions are weighed down just enough by a touch of existentialism and malaise.

Here's the thing: the band's current status is unclear. As recently as this past holiday season, their self-proclaimed ambition was to release a top-charting single. But earlier this week, I noticed that Salën's social media accounts have been deleted; at least one of them has become what appears to be a solo account for Kamio, who promises new music. Here's to hoping that whatever it is keeps a little bit of the spirit that makes Salën's music so special. Until then, I'm thankful that their body of work continues to exist online.

Where should I start?
Posted: February 16, 2018