You must begin somewhere and somehow. Trials, errors, frustrations and accomplishments are a bands regular 9-5. Punk rock is an unforgiving trope, in that either you’re told ‘It isn’t punk’ or due to the nature of the sound, limited to keep within the confines of the punk aesthetic.
‘Dirt Mall’ is an interesting release by still fresh Manchester based three-piece, Aerial Salad. It isn’t bad. It’s quite far from the notion it’s either pointless or terrible. With zero knowledge of the band, I have regressed to their previous release ‘Roach’ to gain some context and use to gauge Dirt Mall’ fairly. The first impression is song structure has progressed. There has been a clear aim to evolve away from a lot of the straightforward song pacing you have on ‘Roach’. The downside is the new material lacks, for me, a more vicarial demeanour. Which is fine if that’s the goal. But I would have liked one or two bursts of the quicker, stickier of ‘Leave Me Alone’ or ‘Throw It Away’.
But that is my only major indifference to the new album. ‘Dirt Mall’ does come together as a more solid unit than a collection of songs. There is a more fun aspect running though songs here. So, even if some of the more rawness has gone, it offers a crisper tone and structure. Going from a collection of songs that are fine to a solid release that comes across as a stronger introduction to a band. Because this will most likely be the album people discover this band in next year or so (until the next release).
Yeah ‘Dirt Mall’ is a fine, easy listen. One those albums that you wonder how they’ll evolve if they keep at it (hope they do) ‘Romance’ and ‘State O’yer’ stand out as ideal introductions to a young band that will go on and do more, and gain the audience they could get, with the early signs of raw emotion folding into a patterned structure that Aerial Salad will tour with for years to come.

Aerial Salad: Dirt Mall – Out Now (Roach Industries / Plasterer Records)