That Fucking Tank – Tanknology

8064_mediumEvery so often you will hear a band that delivers such a powerful kick to your teeth you don’t care about anything else but that band for a week. Ladies and gentlemen, That Fucking Tank.

It’s a bit of a travesty that I hadn’t heard That Fucking Tank before about a month ago. I’ve been seeing their name on Brighton lineups for years alongside other noise/experimental/rock bands that I knew were well worth seeing. Why I never – even accidentally – saw That Fucking Tank is one of the great mysteries of our time, alongside who shot JFK and why people are still stupid enough to think the moon landings were faked. By the way, a Nigerian man wants to share his fortune with you and needs your Paypal details…

So three or four weeks back I was at the Hobgoblin to see a friend’s band and was amused to find that two gigs had been booked for the same night, resulting in a mish-mash of artists from the more experimental/progressive end of the spectrum (including a girl with whitenoiseboxes who I described as “the Hungarian peasant version of Whitehouse“) and those opting for something a little more traditional (a band from the North who played competent if uninspiring shout-and-run-around hardcore of the wholesome, clean variety). That Fucking Tank headlined, for whatever reason, and from the first few riffs I was hooked. I stood facing TFT’s guitarist for 45 fucking minutes, stomping my feet and thrashing my head and body around as I let this gloriously hooky music thump around me. I bought Tanknology, That Fucking Tank’s debut album, immediately afterwards.

Let’s start the review proper mechanistically: That Fucking Tank is Andy, guitar and pedals, and James, drums and drums. The dynamic of That Fucking Tank is entirely in the interplay between these two instruments, as well as the influences on their songwriting. These influences are particularly obvious when you look at some of the track names on Tanknology: ‘Stephen Hawkwind’, ‘Dave Grolsch’, ‘Bruce Springstonehenge’, ‘Evan Dido’ etc. There’s a lot of humour here; not laugh-out-loud slap-in-the-face jokes but the sense of fun that comes with hacking out something identifiably representative of an artist or style and slotting it into a rhythmic, throbbing assault of drum/guitar riffage. And this is what you get: the album’s proper tracks are lengthy affairs, the sort of thing you could describe as sonic assaults if you weren’t afraid of the cliche, taking a core riff and building upon or playing with that. It’s music you want to let yourself slip into. Sure, you can stick it on and sink a few cans of cider and chat with your friends, but this is music to pay attention to, music to twitch and nod to.

‘Mr. Blood’ is probably the strongest track on the album, at least for me, as it’s the dirtiest, the thumpingest, the rockingest slab of rocking rock. But there’s a lot to be said for the shorter tracks like ‘Bruce Springstonehenge’ – essentially a fuzzy two-piece Springsteen cover – and the lengthier belters like ‘Keanu Reef’, which starts out like Battles channelling Reef and then flips into pure mathy joy. Probably the only track I don’t particularly like is the gentle, noodly ‘John Faheyshanu’, and as best I can guess this is a reference to the tedious solo work of John Frusciante.

My friends, this is fucking good and it is fucking fun. More music needs to be fun; all too many bands and musicians seem to take themselves so seriously that they forget the fundamental wonder of approaching something creative with a sense of fun. So That Fucking Tank rock and they’re a helluva lot of fun. How could they be more awesome? Oh yeah, by being passionately committed to an ethical DIY approach to music!

Go listen to this band already.

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  1. […] make would be to a band from half the world away – Leeds’ That Fucking Tank (reviewed here). However, TFT are all about looping riffs and rocking rhythms laden with fuzz and distortion, and […]

  2. […] the video for That Fucking Tank’s ‘Mr. Blood’, a song from an album I reviewed and liked a great deal. That was about a year and a half ago now and was written a month or so after I saw […]