ALBUM REVIEW: Aerial Salad – Dirt Mall
Within the opening moments of Dirt Mall it is clear that this is a release that demonstrates a maturing within Manchester three-piece Aerial Salad, in both songwriting and musicianship. The swift progression from screeching feedback to a crunching grunge riff in Virtue effortlessly nods towards both the Epifat punks of the early noughties and nineties grunge. Both fine examples of the DIY attitude that escalate throughout each and every perfectly placed imperfection.
The most obvious thing that becomes noticeable within the first few tracks, which flow perfectly in and out of each other, is the effortless nature in which huge hooks are thrown within the angular musical backing. These rousing choruses would be at home within Britpop classics, but the accomplished songwriting and musicianship place these rousing choruses within the most complex musical moments. Romance has a hook that will be repeating in your ears like the tinnitus of watching it live. This is an album that catches the infectious energy of a live performance for you to recreate in your ears whenever you want.
The off-kilter musicianship pushes vocals which would dominate focus in a simpler composition and pushes them to greater emotive distances. The power-pop guitars of Temp have an infectious energy that move between delicate and crushing on a knife edge. This release may be full of straight talking, but it is not exempt from humour or a sense of fun. The playful bass and guitar interplay within Such A Pity nod towards early Weezer and combine with the dark humour of the lyrics perfectly. The intro to State O’Yer has a nod towards classic DIY recordings from Dischord and Hellcat, before a combination of street punk and post-hardcore add another joyful moment.
In the bitterest moments vocal snarls take the dark humour of the lyrics and create an emotional understanding with the listener, in the same way that makes Tim Armstrong or Joe Strummer relatable. There is a matter-of-fact style to these vocals which are delivered with a very impressive post-punk style, somehow both conversational and full of infectious tune.
This delivery perfectly suits the lyrics which combine relatable modern takes, humour and raw honesty to create an album that leaves so much freedom within the musicianship. Stressed has the urban charm of The Streets or Jamie T and as a result the freedom to explore varied sounds, creating something truly eclectic. This is a band who are unafraid of tearing strips off the current political climate, but they tread the fine line between sharing and forcing an opinion with a brash sense of delicacy.
Dirt Mall is a release that shows both the raw talent and the creative nature of Aerial Salad, within nine tracks this album shows so much.
Standout Tracks: Such A Pity, State O’Yer, Romance
For Fans Of: Leatherface, Old Firm Casuals, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah
Written by: Ben Adsett