Aerial Salad are without a doubt one of the most exciting young bands, not just in the UK but the whole world of punk rock. The Manchester based three-piece have made huge strides since forming in 2016 and playing what many have said is the worst set in the history of The Fest. Their debut album Roach was extremely well received when it was released in 2017. Since then the band have played shows here, there and everywhere – getting better with each set. Over the past year, they've been working hard on the release of their second album, Dirt Mall, which was released on the 27th of March on Plasterer Records as well as Aerial Salad’s new label Roach Industries. I was excited to hear some new material from the boys.
Temp sees the band pick the tempo back up for a little while. The track begins in quite a loud and brash fashion before soon shifting into a more regimented style. This switch during the song is a very striking method that keeps you listening to the track throughout. Such A Pity starts with a fun walking bass part from Mike Wimbleton. This bass line really carries the opening portion of the track whilst Jamie sings over the top of it. This is without a doubt one of the poppier songs on Dirt Mall and shows that, even though the band have developed, they haven't forgotten their roots. The way the song builds to its chorus is superb, as soon as Jamie yells "tell me, is this a horror film" I'm itching to sing along. I can't wait to see this song performed live. State O'Yer strikes me as one of those songs that gets better and better each time you listen to it. I think the best way of describing the overall sound of the song is by saying if you take the sound of every Teenage Bottlerocket song and add a whole lot of Northern intensity, this is what you’d get. This is where Aerial Salad really excel. Jamie sounds really pissed off as he storms through the track which seems to take aim at the posers in the music scene.
Track seven is the album's title track, Dirt Mall. I read in another review of Dirt Mall that if the reviewer was going to pick one track to sum up the overall sound of the album they would pick Dirt Mall. I would definitely agree with that statement. It's got a bit of everything you expect from the band – passion, energy, angst, cohesiveness, grungey punk rock and a big chorus. It's clear that, despite their relative youth, Jamie, Mike and drummer Matt Mills have been playing together for a good while and play to each other's strengths brilliantly. The penultimate song is named Lazy. This slower track could serve as a bit of an anthem for the band. It has a massive chorus of "I'm so lazy, I don't even feel like moving at all" that I can see crowds at DIY venues all around the UK shouting loudly back at the band. The final track on Dirt Mall is Stressed. This was a great choice of song to finish the album. It's a powerful plodder of a song. It never really hits any massive heights but is also impossible to ignore. This is in part down to a stabby guitar riff and a simple but effective drum beat. It paints a grim but truthful picture of what life is like for most working class, young twenty something people in the UK and how people try and get through it. I laughed when I first heard the lyric "live your own life, the best you can and love your mam". That is such a Jamie Munro lyric.
Dirt Mall definitely delivers on the promise Aerial Salad have as a band. Of all the bands in the UK's ever growing DIY scene, they seem like the most likely to break out into getting some more mainstream attention. Could Aerial Salad become the voice of their generation? How would I know? But it certainly wouldn't surprise me. I can't wait to see them on Sunday Brunch in the future.
Stream and download Dirt Mall on Bandcamp here.
Like Aerial Salad on Facebook here.
This review was written by Colin Clark.