London-based Welsh band The Tubs announce their debut album, Dead Meat, out 27th
January via Trouble in Mind. Owen “O” Williams and George “GN” Nicholls, the primary songwriters
from the group Joanna Gruesome, formed the band in 2018 following a trip to Llawr-Betws caravan
The Tubs are also 3/4s of the “evil” Sniffany & The Nits, as well as the decidedly less evil Ex-Vöid.
Despite three bands’ sonic differences, there’s a similar derangement at play beneath The Tubs’
jangle. The Tubs make music that incorporates elements of post-punk, traditional British-folk, and
guitar jangle seasoned by nonchalant Flying Nun pop hooks and contemporary antipodean
Dead Meat is resplendent in hi-fidelity strum and thrum, but the group’s penchant for traditional British
folk and Canterbury folk-rock takes a noticeable, caffeinated step forward. Echoes of Fairport
Convention’s decidedly English chime cross swords with William’s lyrics. Many songs urgently soar
under Williams’ acerbic lyrics, recalling a younger, fiery Richard Thompson.
These are pop tunes about erotomania, groinal rashes, extreme acts of sniveling and heinous South
London flat odors. Mental illness tends to be a recurrent topic but these songs don’t offer any advice
or particular sense of affirmation, relatability, hope etc. If anything, they seem more interested in the
ways in which mental illness can turn the sufferer into a petty, annoying arsehole. O Williams
explains: “Having a compulsive disorder which makes me go bonkers isn’t my ‘superpower’ or
whatever, it actually just makes me this irritating guy who smells.”
Lead single “Sniveller” was inspired by Williams’ previous band, The Snivellers. “This song’s inspired
by an old band of mine – The Snivellers. It was fronted by Max Levy of Garden Centre and the
concept was that he’d embody the archetypal Sniveller – i.e the pathetic, scheming, slimy, manservant
forever backing slowly out of his master’s chambers. I wanted to write about how love can turn
anyone into a Sniveller”.
The Tubs have never been tighter and more dynamic, often imperceptible ratcheting up the tension,
an extra guitar line overdubbed, a barely audible organ/synth cranking under a chorus or bridge, or
unexpected backups from vocalist Lan McArdle. The Tubs are poised to take over your stereo –
there’s no point in resisting.