Thrash Hits

September 30th, 2013

Album: That Fucking Tank – A Document of The Last Set

That Fucking Tank promo photo Thrash Hits

That Fucking Tank
A Document of The Last Set
Gringo Records
23 September 2013

by Ollie Connors

That Fucking Tank are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, and the Leeds-based duo have decided to chronicle their decade of particularly clangorous brand of instrumental noise/math-rock with a “best-of” of sorts, which is a somewhat ironic move on their part. With a name as vehemently antithetical to the mainstream as That Fucking Tank, what’s more mainstream than a “Greatest Hits” record?

That Fucking Tank A Document Of The Last Set album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

Document Of The Last Set is imagined as a live set, complete with bookending crowd noises and a dodgy compère, and does exhibit their prowess as a live act. However, live albums are no match for actually being there – as great as this music is, it’s just not as engaging without being able to see the twosome getting sweaty before your eyes. To a band that gig as hard as TFT do, actually putting out a record is almost an afterthought, something to write new songs for to get back out on the road with, and this record does give you a rather large yearning to witness TFT at your local dive bar.

A common problem with a fair few instrumental bands is that without vocals to hook the listener in, the record can start to sound more than a little homogenous. Andy Abbott’s baritone guitar consistently hums menacingly, and James Islip’s drumming is excellent throughout, but there’s little to differentiate between the songs – TFT might be great at being oppressively noisy, but they’re oppressively noisy constantly, and the lack of variation may cause one to switch off. TFT’s sense of humour shines through on tracks like ‘Bruce Springstonehenge’, a growling reimagining of the refrain from The Boss’ ‘Dancing In The Dark’. This is followed by ‘Dave Grolsch’ and ‘Keanu Reef, but amusing song titles aren’t enough to keep interest levels sufficiently high enough throughout their six-plus minute spans.

Watch the video to ‘Making a Meal for Beethoven by That Fucking Tank:

There are moments of this compilation that are genuinely jaw-dropping, such as the relentless ‘Making a Meal for Beethoven’ or the Zappa-esque prog wig-out of ‘Acid Jam’. However, Document Of The Last Set is no substitute for seeing the band live, which on this evidence, you will be impelled to do (and judging by their past tour schedule, they’ll probably be playing down the road twice before the end of the month). This kind of retrospective sometimes signals a band moving towards their terminus, as their members head into their fourth decade as people, one hopes there’s still plenty left in the (fucking) tank.

3.5/6

Sounds Like: A decade of waking up with a bangover
Standout Tracks: Making A Meal For Beethoven, Acid Jam, NWONWOBHM
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