That Fucking Tank have been Britain’s answer to US noise rock duos like Hella and Lightning Bolt for the best part of a decade now. Of course they’re completely different to both those bands, but that’s what has made them stand out. That Fucking Tank are Yorkshire’s own answer to the guitar/drum duo, eschewing unhealthy fascinations with dissonance and time signatures in favour of melding together something weighty and addictive.
A Document of the Last Set is effectively a tribute to That Fucking Tank’s years of existence to date. It lacks new material, aiming instead to preserve in aspic a meaty 40-odd minute live performance by the pair. A little bit of post-event editing and touching up aside this then is the pure sound of That Fucking Tank on stage, and you’d have to be a fool not to realise that this is where they belong. A Document of the Last Set is a whistle-stop train ride through an odyssey of quality riffs, and boy is it great fun.
Fun is really what That Fucking Tank are all about. It is possible to listen to tracks like ‘NWONWOBHM’ and ‘Dave Grolsch’ whilst gently tapping your feet and stroking your beard... but to get the full impact it’s recommended you headbang like crazy and swig a couple of beers. It’s then that you truly appreciate that just how underrated That Fucking Tank are. As musicians and as songwriters they make their job look very easy, and it’s not.
You see most instrumental bands only sound as great as they do because they have worked out how to successfully dress up their songs, especially if they are lacking on the member front. That Fucking Tank don’t bother to embellish their ideas, which gives them the wonderful aura of sounding like they can just reel this stuff off whenever the mood takes them. A Document of the Last Set is cohesive enough that you would think it was a studio affair if you didn’t know better and, remarkably, it barely pauses for breath either.
The result is the perfect combination of energy and assured performance. It’s oh so easy to enjoy but, when it’s all over, you can sit down and finally appreciate how great That Fucking Tank are. Here are gathered nine top-notch rock songs, with no need for vocals or extra instrumentation, and that’s enough. What niggles slightly is the fact that it’s taken what is essentially a retrospective / live release to emphasise That Fucking Tank’s quality.
There’s something about the selection of tracks here that makes it abundantly clear how good this band really are, but there’s no getting away from the fact that listening to their studio albums to date hasn’t communicated quite the same feeling. This means that, although A Document of the Last Set superbly acknowledges all That Fucking Tank’s finest attributes, it also acts as a reminder that whilst you would go and see them down the Bru without a second’s thought, you may not put Tankology on as much as it might deserve.
7Benjamin Bland's Score