- Sarah Stubbs
REVIEWED: Battalions' 'Forever Marching Backwards'
Let's face it, the world had pretty much gone to shit: May, Trump and numerous other idiots stalk the political stage like steaming great colossi of shite, with some people even voting for those clowns. Brexit threatens to tear the UK in two, and you know things are bad when you feel nostalgic for Bush. The politician obviously; the world isn't quite bad enough to herald the return of overly earnest knock-off grunge. Thank fuck then, for bands like Battalions. With notable industry, this is the hellions of Hull's third album in as many years and doesn't deviate too much from 'Nothing To Lose' and 'Moonburn', in that it sounds like a herd of tanks stampeding up and down the motorways of the country crewed by a herd of drunken rhinos high on life and fuck knows what else.
The general approach to writing a Battalions song is get a sludge riff, make it as groovy-sleek as possible and then get some screaming over the top. The opening title track showcases a new clear production job that also lets their progressive tendencies shine through. It's also the last (clear) introspection bit on the album, as the incoherent screaming takes hold. But it's all good-natured hearty slaps on the back stuff, rather than mining the depths of despair. 'Vaseline (G)love' is a fantastic instrumental that barrels along merrily into 'Tyskie Vampire' and a spiralling breakneck groove riff, set to the tale of when a tourmate sucked beer out of a van carpet. This ain't po-faced existentialism, but more of a full-throated exhortation to the boundless possibilities of life, especially when you have a crate of beer in one hand and an amp cranked to 11 in the other.