When Manchester trio Aerial Salad set the date of late March 2020 for the release of their awesome ‘Dirt Mall’ album who could ever have predicted that their fierce barrage of spikey adolescent punk pop was about to run headlong into a metaphorical career brick wall known as a global pandemic. That record really should have seen the Salad boys (Jamie Munro on vocals and guitar, Mike ‘Wimbo’ Wimbleton on vocals and bass and Jake Marshall on drums) leapfrogging all comers on the global scene but as with anyone with musician as their job description back then they were largely forgotten overnight.

How any band reacts to such outside forces is always going to make or break them, and in the case of Aerial Salad having to seemingly “start over again” (for want of a better phrase) only seems to have further galvanised them as a musical tour de force. With time on their hands to further refine and define their songwriting formula, the band’s follow up record ‘R.O.I.’ is indeed a mighty fine return on investment for all the blood, sweat and tears shed in the intervening years.

Released on April 12th 2024 via Venn Records (the label run by Lags from Gallows and home to the likes of Bob Vylan, Clobber and Meryl Streek) ‘R.O.I.’ sees the post punk influences of the band’s early ‘Roach’ era tunes crashing headlong into the Seattle guitar rawk of ‘Dirt Mall’ whilst adding a whole new twist to the Aerial Salad sound, something the lads have been quick to dub Madchester Punk.

A quick listen to recent single ‘Tied To Pieces Of Paper’ will give you near perfect sounbite of the band’s angsty take on life in 2024, as it’s sounds not unlike Mark E Smith fronting The Jam before they are joined by Nirvana for the tune’s chorus crescendo, and it’s all over in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.  BOSH! ‘ave it!

The anger has certainly been dialled up on ‘R.O.I.’ and straight from the off with opener ‘Rottin’ n Shakin’ you can almost taste the frustration in Jamie’s vocal delivery thanks to a fantastically tight production from Dean Glover (who has also worked with The Membranes) as tunes like ‘MDRN LVN’, ‘As The World Eats Itself’ and ‘They All Lied To Me’ perfectly illustrate what it must be like to be young growing up in this post-Brexit disunited kingdom we call home. 

With a mission statement to appeal to everyone and anyone, from rave heads to indie kids, poets to rockers, you just need to give the album’s first single ‘Big Business’ a listen to fully understand how they are going to achieve this, and this tune is not alone in its genre-blending potential as tracks like ‘Do You Like Flowers Son’, ‘Same 24 Hours (As Beyoncé)’ and the almost psych pop of ‘Capo 2’ will have you stomping around your bedroom like a good ‘un.

There are times during ‘R.O.I.’ where I have to check that this is really is still the same band I once saw upstairs in a tiny Bristol boozer long before global pandemics were ever a reality, as this is a record that truly transcends the pub circuit, and the likes of Yard Act, IDLES and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes best be looking over their shoulders because if Aerial Salad do take their ‘Chances’ (groans)  there’s nothing to say they won’t be stealing those band’s fanbases during the summer as the trio look to promote their finest record to date via a series of explosive live shows.

You can get your copy of ‘R.O.I.’ HERE!

Author:Johnny Hayward