ALBUM REVIEW: L.O.A.D. – Tattoos And Scars (Tonal Music)

You know that feeling you get when you hear a band for the first time, and can’t wait to see them live? Well, L.O.A.D have just become one of those bands.

The League Of Angry Drunkards, to give them their full name, were formed in 2016 by three punk scene veterans from Lowestoft in Suffolk, the most easterly town in England.

This is their second album (following last year’s debut Seaside Special), recorded live in a Norwich studio the weekend before lockdown. It’s packed with huge riffs, gnarly bass and pounding drums, and lyrics which show pride in working class roots, and I liked it immediately.

Al Tiffen (bass/vocals), Tony Cullingford (drums/backing vocals) and Dave Brown (guitar/backing vocals) play pure thug rock ‘n’ roll, with one foot firmly in the Oi!/streetpunk camp, and the other stomping towards the punk-metal middle ground of Motorhead.

This is an album full of hard-hitting songs from a trio I’d compare to old-school bands like The Business, The Last Resort and The 4 Skins, and, more contemporarily, Knock Off and Grade 2.

It kicks off with one of the strongest tracks, My Town, where Al sums up the state of so many places around the UK: “My town is a fucked up town/All the shops are closing down/My town is a weird old place/The sun shines first on the council estate.”

It’s a great opener, and paves the way nicely for Dead Heroes, which allows the boys to channel their inner Motorhead with some great riffing from Dave.

Fist of Fury shows the influence of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, with some great chugging riffs, while Stuff is a catchy-as-hell tune, about getting off your arse and doing something, instead of lying around drinking all day: “I’ve got stuff, stuff I need to do/Dreams and aspirations, how about you?”

The heavy-riffing Tattoos & Scars, slows things down, examining the influences that make us the people we are, before things move back up a gear with the excellent Billy No Mates, about a lonely, bullied kid who turns his life around by joining the Army and becomes someone people respect.

Iceni pays tribute to warrior queen Boadicea, and then it’s time for as good a closing one-two as I’ve heard on a record in a long time. The anthemic Untouchable has yet more swaggering riffs, and sounds like a song Cock Sparrer would write – yes, it’s that good.

Things reach a glorious conclusion with Fully Loaded, which espouses the delights of getting in the van and heading out to play gigs. “Three old cunts in the front of a van, loaded up with gear and scran” made me laugh out loud, and the chorus “L.O.A.D. are on the road again” will be in your head for days.

I can’t wait to see that statement become reality, and my only problem with this album is that at nine tracks and a touch under half an hour in length it’s too short. More please! 8/10.

Gary Welford owner