Every now and then here in the UK a band connects with a generation and explodes into the mainstream. Nirvana, the Sex Pistols, Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys and Slaves are just a few who have achieved this, and this year I think we are very likely be adding the name of Aerial Salad to that stellar list too. Granted over the decades there have been scores of other bands I could have named but these bands perhaps have the most in common with where Aerial Salad’s heads are at, and it only takes a few bars of opener ‘Virtue’ to tick off the Seattle influence buried under a lyric from frontman Jamie Monroe that is designed to tear the clothes from off your backs and rip the flesh from your bones…quite literally.
I should perhaps admit that when I first witnessed Aerial Salad a few years back supporting Wonk Unit in Bristol they didn’t exactly blow me away, it was good yes, but to my ears it wasn’t really the second coming that their manager Daddy (Alex) Wonk would have us believe, not at the time anyway. Fast forward to early 2020 and witnessing the band supporting (who else but) Wonk Unit, and they were like an altogether different band. Playing songs largely drawn from ‘Dirt Mall’ this time Aerial Salad sounded every bit like the second coming, something that was quickly reinforced just a few days later when they premiered the video to ‘Romance?’, a song so amazing that it alone should have you hovering over the “Add to Cart” button on the band’s website.
This is dirty punk rock folks albeit a version that is never afraid to throw you a killer pop hook or two along the way and for that reason the likes of ‘Fever Dream’, ‘Lazy’ and the insanely catchy ‘Such A Pity’ could all very well have been hit singles had they been released when singles sold in their millions. For me it’s the likes of ‘Temp’ ‘State O’ Yer’ and ‘Dirt Mall’ that have me slamming and bouncing around the room like a teenager all over again, all of them perfectly capturing the frustrations and anger of someone growing up in this age of austerity. Oh, and whilst we are on that subject in album closer ‘Stressed’ we have perhaps the definitive anthem to be written about the Tory’s social cleansing initiative.
Just as Butch Vig did for Nirvana on ‘Nevermind’ producer Paul Tipler (allegedly hired by the band simply because they loved the work he did on Leatherface’s ‘Mush album but I’d like to think they were also aware of his awesome work with the mighty D4) allows each of the nine tracks on ‘Dirt Mall’ the space to breathe whilst simultaneously capturing an uncontrollable energy that is designed to cave in your cranium. Something that can be lethal in the right hands…and here it’s deadly.
‘Dirt Mall’ is released on 27th of March on a variety of different coloured and signed vinyl formats (all of which come with a free CD copy) via the band’s website linked below, and it’s a record that really should be in every self-respecting music fan’s collection.
Author: Johnny Hayward