Review: That Fucking Tank – A Document Of The Last Set

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing That Fucking Tank on two occasions. The first was in the modest setup of the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading Festival in 2008, just barely beyond the rumble of the Main Stage, during which many a weary passer-by stumbled into their stalling, booming malfunction of rock, noise and propulsive disco while en route to something far less interesting on one of the bigger stages. The second was a Tank headline set in Reading (for which, funnily enough, yours truly the opening support act), where a dirty outpour of buzzing amplifiers and clacking drums rebounded off the hard walls and high ceiling, welling up in the bodies of those in attendance and converted into an ecstatic desire to writhe and dance. Momentum is a key aspect of the live show; there are no momentary recoveries of consciousness and self-awareness, and no split second where either amplifier or cymbal cease to quiver – That Fucking Tank remain in character for the entire set duration, merging their songs into one solitary outpour via some acutely choreographed track transitions.

A Document Of The Last Set brings it all back. It’s a 40-minute recording – completed with minimal re-takes and post-prod tinkering – which aims to capture the experience of witnessing a Tank live set, compiled from cuts from 2009’s Tanknology, their 2006 full-length debut and last year’s TFT. As well as being a nostalgic essential for the completist fans, first-timers could do worse than to give this a look; it’s an exhaustive sweep of the band’s vast spectrum of tempo, velocity and musical reference points, surging through those blissed-out stomps of 4/4 and unravelled guitar tapping, skidding across dirty powerchords and the grumbling tick of palm-muting (fortified by Andy Abbot’s simultaneous use of guitar and bass amplification) and screeching to halts of broken rhythm and belching low-end that make it sound as though the screws of TFT’s steel song structures are starting to rattle loose. A deserved account of a terrific live act.