Tanknology

by That Fucking Tank

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about

That Fucking Tank is Andy Abbott and James Islip. They have been playing music together since pre-teenhood when they met at school in 1991. Tank was formed in Leeds as a one-off performance utilising some novelty equipment - a baritone guitar tuned to play bass and guitar lines simultaneously through two amps, and a minimal drum set - which kept on going.

Live performances once relied on masks, few clothes, lots of sweat and extreme volume as a mediator for the 'minimal riff disco' pumped out by the duo. This era, captured on releases through Jealous Records (the e.p 'A Document of the First Set' and 2006's 'Day of Death by Bono Adrenalin Shock'), took Andy and James all over Europe playing established festivals like Sant Feliu, BBC Radio One Maida Vale sessions and touring and supporting peers from the UK, Europe and the USA including Hella, Oxes, Whitehouse, Foals, US Maple, The Fucking Champs, Vialka, Unsane, Lungfish, Melt Banana, and Don Caballero to name a few.

'Tanknology' is their second full-length album and brings together tracks written and performed live over the last two years. In this time That Fucking Tank's sound has developed from rawish math rock to incorporate more of the duo's influences from classic rock, to prog, to early techno whilst staying true to the minimal equipment that instigated the band. Traces of Hawkwind, ESG, and Hendrix can be picked out amongst the more cliched reference points like Oxes or The Fucking Champs, as well as the appearance of pop hooks and song structures that Andy and James only half-jokingly refer to as sounding like The Lemonheads, Foo Fighters and Reef. The album even features a homage to 'Dancing in the Dark' with 'Brucespringstonehenge'.

Years of touring has built confidence in the duo, now unafraid of knocking out something more tuneful amongst the riffs and grooves that have made their name and in the process carving out a more distinctive and unique sound that separates them their peers. Appearances at Leeds and Reading festivals in 2008 demonstrated an ability to connect with larger audiences outside of the avant-rock or underground music scene despite the 'difficult' nature of the purely instrumental music; the riffs still have a tendency to evade strict classification into any time signature, and they are often twice the volume of most other bands they play with.

Since its conception Andy and James have used That Fucking Tank as a vehicle to practice and endorse the DIY ethos; booking their own tours, and playing in nearly every conceivable city and backwater in the UK whilst holding down jobs and extra-musical commitments. Half of 'Tanknology' is recorded by the band themselves using small rehearsal spaces and bedrooms with four of the leading tracks recorded in Liverpool by long-term recording partner Rob Whiteley in a day-long session. Tanknology is, as such, a more accessible and 'colourful' record than the pair's previous output but one that embodies the integrity, self-assuredness and love of Springsteen that comes with age and has you involuntarily shouting 'Alright now!' like Reef's Gary Stringer throughout.

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released July 13, 2009

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