If the job of a single is to act as an advert for the album to follow, to tease the audience and test the water, then last year’s Black Mirror should be mentioned in dispatches. It was an enjoyable, snarling, relentlessly rhythmic beast, and it made me wonder what a whole album of their music would sound like. Well, wonder no longer, that time is upon us in the form of …another truth dies, ten slices of socially observant, politically questioning blends of muscle and melody, groove and grind.
Kicking off with the blistering sonic salvo that goes by the name of Playing God, we are presented with a truly majestic blast of solid riffs, powerful and poignant lyrics, squalling guitar breaks and powerhouse bass and backbeat that sits in the sweet spot at a crossroads between punk and metal, alt-rock and punchy post-punkery. Not a bad place to be, if you ask me, and as you are reading this, you kind of did! And it is a great way of setting the tone for a lot of what follows.
There are more mid-paced, grungey groovers in the guise of Flag; punk waltzes that perfectly reflect the careening message of a life spinning out of control with the muscular and marvellous foray into Leveller-esque territory on Round and Round and acoustic guitars driving malevolently alongside buzz saw electric six-string sonic subversions courtesy of Willing Slaves.
If you find a lot of punk off-putting because of its reliance on bombast and bravado, its simple messages and its oft-naive nature, then AnyMinuteNo is the sort of band that neatly redresses those failings. This is a band who can certainly get in your face, but the difference is that they get in your brain too. Yes, they have punkish swagger driving their music, but this is anything but a three-chord-wonder. Well, some of the songs may run on such simple structures, but it is how they build up from there that really makes the difference.
Dark tones and rich textures are threaded through their incendiary sound, the riffs reveal themselves to be smarter and more rewarding with each successive play, and the pulsing bass lines and drums, which wander between the succinct and the scatter-gun, serve the songs perfectly.
And then lyrically, AnyMinuteNo perfectly blend the art of having something important to say, something beyond merely rabble-rousing and rhetoric, with fist-in-the-air excitement and infectious sing-along-ability. (That’s a word, right?)
Powerful post-punk? Alternative rock with something worthwhile on its mind, at last? Punk with poise and purpose? An eloquent voice from the underground? Call it what you will; just don’t take it for granted. At a time when rock bands seem happy to plunder, plagiarise and pastiche the past, this is the way forward.