ALBUM REVIEW: Aerial Salad – Dirt Mall (Roach Industries/Plasterer)

Dirt Mall, the second album by Aerial Salad.

If you want to fall in love with a young band who play modern punk with real old-school passion, look no further than Aerial Salad.

Formed in Manchester in 2016, the three-piece burst onto the scene the following year with their excellent debut album Roach, which made it onto many critics’ end of year ‘best of’ lists.

Now they’re back with a follow-up, and although it’s short but sweet – nine songs weighing in at just 26 minutes – it’s all killer and no filler.

If you haven’t heard them, imagine a band brought up on Green Day and Blink-182, and add a big dose of brash ’77-style punk attitude, complete with Rotten-like sneering vocals.

Singer/guitarist Jamie Munro, bassist Mike Wimbleton and drummer Matty Mills have come up with one of THE punk albums of the year.

Whereas Roach was the raw, exciting sound of a band thrilled to have made a record, this is them growing into their own skin, and really starting to express themselves.

Opening track Virtue starts as they mean to go on, with swaggering guitar and driving rhythm section, and it’s followed by lead single Romance, about being in love with someone you can’t have.

Fever Dream is set to a more chugging rhythm, while Temp addresses the perils of temporary employment – a situation which has become all too relevant for far too many people in the current coronavirus emergency.

Such A Pity is my favourite song on the album. Less frenzied, it’s built around a piercing guitar riff which pins you back in your chair as Jamie sneers: “I’ve got no expression, only pressure.”

The lads are cooking on gas now, and State O’Yer is another banger, with a bludgeoning riff. Strident and melodic at the same time, it’s the sound of a band on top of their game.

Aerial Salad at Rebellion Festival in 2018. Pic: Gary Welford.

Title track Dirt Mall is yet another highlight, about the struggles of trying to survive, while Lazy is less frenetic and veers towards heavy rock riffing as Jamie sings: “I’m so lazy I don’t feel like moving at all.”

Stressed, which brings the record to a glorious close, is about coping with austerity, and the first thing I do when it’s over is go back to track one and start again. Yes, this album is that good, it just leaves you wanting more.

Sadly, Aerial Salad have had to cancel their April tour promoting the album, but look out for new dates once all this madness is over, because while they’re good on record, they’re even better live. 8/10

  • Aerial Salad have a weekly radio show which you can download HERE, where Jamie and Mike play their favourite punk songs and have a natter .
Gary Welford owner