Prior to their debut album, The Tubs let out two short, but near perfect embodiments of their sound. The crisp breeze of their debut “I Don’t Know How It Works,” was followed quickly by The Names EP. The band’s members have roots in beloved indie pop outfit Joanna Gruesome, and share members with concurrent JN tributaries Ex-Vöid, but they’ve established themselves as removed from both, albeit with a crossover Venn of jangles holding them all in place. The new album embraces the band’s love of UK folk as much as that of Homestead-rooted ‘80s indie. Due in no small part to the similarities between their voices, the band often feels like they’ve jostled a live-wire of post-punk into the works of Richard Thompson, reaching back towards Fairport, but more often touching on this solo repertoire. Like fellow janglers Jeanines, the infusion of folk with the fumes of ‘80s indie pop feels like a proper look back at those who’ve beaten that path before them. The works on Dead Meat feel less like a band emulating ‘80s than a masterclass in method acting, turning those original influences into vibrant splashes of pop.
The record cherry picks a pair of singles form their previous releases and closes out with a reworked version of “Wretched Lie,” which originally appeared on a single from Owen’s alter-ego as Cotton Crown in 2021. The rest remains a brand new batch of breathless indie pop, starting with a searing sequel stunner to the Names EP’s own opener “Illusion.” Stuffed between the familiar material, the band proves that the singles aren’t the only standouts, landing whiplash guitar solos on “Round The Bend,” creeping tension that boils over in blissful fits on “Sniveller,” and starting harmonies amiably on the title track. The record reaches the racks feeling like an instant classic, the kind of indie pop that started zines, forged labels, and setup recurring runs at venues. Dead Meat is the antithesis of its title, a vibrant volley that jumps ahead of many of their peers with a wink and a smile.
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