Album Review: The Tubs – Dead Meat

A stunning debut from London-based Welsh janglers featuring former members of Joanna Gruesome

You wait years for a post-punk band and then 634 of them come along at once. In a world where anyone with an art degree and a trench coat is speak-singing over jittery, angular guitars, it’s harder than ever to stand out. Thank the heavens, then, for The Tubs, a band that makes post-punk so invigorating and engaging that it deserves better than to be called post-punk.

The Tubs’ founding members (Owen Williams and George Nicholls) had a previous existence as two fifths of much loved and sadly missed noise poppers Joanna Gruesome. In an alternate world where the demise of one wasn’t necessary for the creation of the other, you could imagine both happily sharing a bill. For what set Joanna Gruesome apart from the noise pop crowd is the same thing that elevates The Tubs over their own peers: all those pretty, jangly melodies.

The Tubs "Wretched Lie" (Official Video)

The whole C86 scene and Flying Nun’s heyday remain key influences, with much of Dead Meat built on crisp two-chord verses that blossom into glorious choruses. The emphasis on melody throughout calls to mind The Feelies and Television, as well as early R.E.M. in The Tub’s tendency to load their biggest, shiniest hooks into choruses flecked with folk rock.

On tracks such as ‘Dead Meat’ and ‘Shriveller’, these moments can feel like sunshine battling its way through rainclouds. On others, such as the wonderful ‘Duped’, the whole thing feels like an onslaught of catchiness – jangle stacked upon jangle stacked upon jangle.

Indeed, The Tubs are at their finest when they go direct. The album’s back half run from ‘Duped’ through ‘That’s Fine’ and ‘Round The Bend’ to ‘Wretched Lie’ is nigh on unbeatable, rushing past in a blur of ridiculously catchy hooks and undiluted dopamine hits. The whole album flashes by in 26 minutes and the only thing to do is hit play again. A hugely promising debut.

Released: 27 Jan 2023
Label: Trouble In Mind
On Tour: TBC