That Fucking Tank – TFT (2011)

That Fucking Tank. Personally the name conjures an image of a net curtain twitching Yorkshire housewife: “tssk, their Darren’s back, in that fucking tank again”. Meanwhile Darren parks his panzer following the late shift at Farm Foods.

Andy Abbot and James Islip are That Fucking Tank and it has nothing to do with Darren next door. What is does concern however, is a guitar, a drum kit and loud music. TFT is their third album…

TFT serves as a compendium of the best music produced in the past 40 years while still feeling original, down to the skill, panache and care of the musicians. As Christmas approaches maybe the best comparison is that tin of sweets you’re still nibbling your way through in March.

The following bands sprang to mind at various points of this album: the minimalism of Gang Of Four (strawberry cremes), Joy Division performing Northern Soul (those weird coffee triangles), Wire (orange creme), Dead Kennedy’s (toffee), early Chameleons (crunchy orange), even the rasping fury of an early Billy Bragg song (the solid chocolate one). I could probably cite some metal (hazelnut) and desert rock bands (fudge) if I was well versed enough in those genres.

It’s not all bone-dry, razor sharp guitar work however; the bass is often a relentless cavalcade of aggravation. The music occasionally has a Devo-esque sense of the abhorrent and the sporadic nod of Berlin era Bowie.

Let’s have a look at the songs. What surprises about the opening title track is that for a band named That Fucking Tank, the song is surprisingly accessible. It has a brutal riff, providing the sensation of licking a battery before melting into chaos like a Salvadore Dali painting. The album gets underway in a tremendously exciting way, you’ll be air guitaring before  you know it (not ‘air guttering’ as spell check suggests). ‘Wonderful World Of’ has a slow, widescreen drawl mixed with a stop – start playfulness with a hint of rockabilly thrown in. This is a big, catchy tune.

‘Lomond’ sounds like a slower Clinic cut, with dubby, repetitive bass. Meanwhile ‘NWONWOBHM’ is attempting to be a freakish metal – post-punk hybrid (special effects by Stan Winston). ‘Acid Jam’ has jazzy drumming, concrete shaking bass and then, past 2 minutes the beat locks into a 4/4 groove and all elements converge in a robotic rave up.

‘Threads’ starts with the sound of a Stormtroopers panic attack before another hand picked riff from That Fucking Tank’s big box of ‘Harsh Riffs’. Changing and trying on new ideas in a manner that would impress Roxy Music. Focused burst of power erupt from the afterburners as the band lets loose with timed explosions in an attempt to pierce the stratosphere.

On the downside, ‘Nailbomb’ and ‘D8’ sounds like the kind of hardcore punk that the Beastie Boys kept inflicting on us, so if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t skip ‘Heart Attack Man’ on Ill Communication, this is for you. They’re the toffee pennies.

In conclusion, look at all the bands cited at the top: if you like any tough, angular guitar music that has been made, ever, you should find at last parts of this album to enjoy, if not the whole lot. If you like your music harsh and visceral, That Fucking Tank has all the ammunition you require.

Note – Other manufacturers of Christmassy tins of multicoloured sweets are available. They also contain crappy ones no bugger wants.

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