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That Fucking Tank spawned a thousand imitators – and you probably hadn’t even realised.

Far from the first two-piece, post-hardcore ensemble, the sheer brutality of That Fucking Tank’s live show carved out a niche of their own. In their wake, other groups cropped up inspired by the accessible, creative, fun atmosphere of their music. With second album ‘TFT’ finally due to gain a physical pressing this month, the band are eager to stay one step ahead.

A frenetic mixture of punk, metal and – we shit thee not – Acid House, ‘TFT’ is a pounding, relentless listen. Yet That Fucking Tank also have a softer side, with the entire release really flowing as an album. “I'm much keener on the whole 'composition' thing nowadays so knowing you're working on an album allows you to broaden your scope more than just trying to fit all your ideas into one song” explains Andy Abbott. “I guess whether the album format is commercially relevant any more is a different matter but that doesn't really dictate how we go about things.”

Recorded in one sustained blast, ‘TFT’ sounds on record about as live (or alive) as it is possible to get. “Four days is the longest I've spent recording in one session so it was actually pretty relaxed in comparison” the guitarist explains. “The main tracks came about in lumps, I might write a couple together at a time. Once we had a rough picture of the whole we decided on what the album might need - a soft song, a fast song, a long song etc - and that informs how we structure or turn some of the more embryonic ideas into songs.”

Shifting between styles and inspirations, ‘TFT’ initially sat as a mesh of material. Not quite falling into one over-arching concept, That Fucking Tank decided to introduce one. “I felt the album was a bit all over the place and perhaps a bit too 'jumpy' in terms of a mix of styles when we first listened back to it, but that's where the concept of it being about an autobiographical musical journey came in.”

Tracing the journey of two friends from adolescence to adulthood, ‘TFT’ comes as both members enter their thirties. Don’t take this as some period of crisis, though, as Abbott explains: “I didn't see turning 30 as a milestone. People have thought I'm in my thirties for ages anyway!” he laughs. “I'm sure my views have changed as I've got older as they do with anyone. I'd like to think I'm more forgiving or relaxed in terms of judging music aesthetically than I once was. I think that's been balanced with a more politicised outlook on cultural activity.”



In some respects, ‘TFT’ is a more straight forward, more sincere counterpoint to the band’s pun-laden debut. Famed for their song titles, That Fucking Tank have opted to put away their machine pun (see what we did there?) when it came to titling their latest shards of guitar noise. “I think originally it was funny to us to give the songs daft titles as it kind of undermines the 'serious' or careerist artist image” says Abbott. “Everyone has stupid titles or band names now though - regardless of their motives - so it isn't really rallying against anything. Also, I think in-joke titles can come across as a little smug. This album is much more sincere I think and the titles reflect that”.

Infuriatingly difficult to place, ‘TFT’ emphasises that with a little imagination a two piece punk outfit can sidestep almost every genre going. Often lumped in with numerous -core scenes, That Fucking Tank are keen to avoid being co-opted into any movement. “I find it a little annoying to be associated with a certain type of macho and soulless 'math rock' scene, just as I would with boring and melodramatic 'post rock' but that's unavoidable to an extent. Hopefully as soon as people experience the music the genre label is no longer an issue.”

Bringing their ear-blistering, eyeball-searing live show to venues across the country, That Fucking Tank proved to many that the DIY method still had strong currency. Often cited as an inspiration by new groups, that approach is not likely to change any time soon. “The term DIY gets banded about a lot more now - and in a greater range of contexts -than it did when we started. That's more to do with it becoming co-opted and reduced from an ethical or political position to a style or aesthetic (just like 'punk' or 'indie' before it) than people taking influence from us” Abbott states. “There are more people doing stuff 'DIY' and that's encouraging but its blurring with entrepreneurship and the whole Big Society thing means there's still plenty to unpick and talk about. The battle's far from won.”

But how far can DIY really get you? “I have faith that self-organised activity and the ethical and political extensions that arise from it have the capacity to change the world.”

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‘TFT’ is out now on Gringo.
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