Aerial Salad

Dirt Mall

Written by: MAK on 01/06/2020 14:10:04

Since the emergence of "Roach" in 2017, Manchester's spicy Salad boys, known as Aerial Salad, have become one of the more hyped names in the UK's DIY punk scene, Jamie Munro and Mike Wimbleton becoming two of the more recognisable faces to pop up at all kinds of shows and festivals. Whether they are playing, helping out or purely punters, Aerial Salad is one of the most proactive bands in the scene right now supporting DIY. With that in mind, it's to little surprise that the release of "Dirt Mall", the band's second full-length was one of the more anticipated punk albums to come out in 2020. This would also be the first album to feature drummer Matt Mills.

Aerial Salad are been best known for their melodic, yet lo-fi styled fuzzy garage punk and that notion continues on "Dirt Mall", with elements of grunge, brit-pop, and emo/post-hardcore for good measure. Opening track "Virtue" showcases some of this right off the bat, dirty riffs and Jamie Munro's distinctive husky vocals with that Manchester twang. It's a slow builder that crescendos into an angst-ridden anthem, Harder hit beats and a punchier attitude, all delivered through gritted teeth towards the end of the track. "Romance" follows as a love story about wanting to be with someone who is already in a relationship, but it's dead-end. The song basically asks the question, do you want to be stuck in that rut or as the somewhat catchy chorus repeats "DO YOU WANT ROMANCE?.

"Fever Dream" is a bit more downbeat and restrained in comparison, there is a hint of mid-00s emo tinge to it. Munro's raspy croons in the chorus sound reminiscent to early Taking Back Sunday. However, "Temp" picks up more the lo-fi punk sound that hooked in fans on "Roach", it's a bit faster, crunchier hooks, a pretty solid melodic skate punk track. "Such a Pity" feels Weezer-esque. Think a fuzzier "Pork and Beans" with Mike playing a plucky bassline intro. It's one of the poppier songs on the album. The verse carries a nice plodding tempo and atmosphere, allowing the chorus to prick the ears more the chords add more distortion and Munro's vocals get a bit more prominent. Again the chorus line of "Tell me, is this a horror film?" gets instantly imprinted in your brain. I challenge you not to join in singing along. There have been comparisons between Aerial Salad and Green Day in the past, but "State O'Yer" just further adds to that. Uptempo, melodic skate punk at it's finest with a hint of 90s grunge. It's a proper "pissed-off at the world" anthem to lose your voice to in the shouted chorus. Munro even emulates that early Billy Joe swagger.

The title track, "Dirt Mall" continues that same uptempo, grunge-tinged skate punk vibes, perhaps a little more light-hearted, but still wonderfully energetic. This is cleverly counteracted in the much more downbeat track, "Lazy". Munro's northern twang on top of sluggish distorted hooks in the verse help the anthemic singalong chorus really standout. This could end up being a life favourite with mass crowds singing along. What also stands out is the riffs, the chord progression and more intricate fuzzy hooks grabs your attention a lot more. "Stressed" to me feels like the ultimate Aerial Salad track, it's not the most anthemic or even the hardest hitting musically. Like "Lazy", it's quite slow and down to earth. But lyrically it's pure working class punk, it's honest and laden with distinctive Aerial Salad tongue in cheek charm with split vocal sections between Munro and Wimbleton. They are telling us how it is living in world with Tory Austerity and that most people are just getting by.

I particularly enjoy that "Dirt Mall" feels like a breath of fresh air from most of the Manchester punk counterparts I tend to hear these days. It's different from the majority that leans more towards hardcore punk than something more melodic. This feels like a maturer album than "Roach", exploring more avenues and widening the Aerial Salad sound. The Manchester lads have learned the art of the "big chorus" on several tracks, with some of them having the potential to be live anthems for years to come. This just makes me more excited to see what direction the Salad boys will go from here. The option to push their sound more mainstream shows a lot of promise.


Download: State O'Yer, Stressed, Virtue, Such a Pity
For The Fans Of: Wonk Unit, Green Day, Dirt Box Disco
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.03.2020
Plasterer Records

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