The Tubs – Dead Meat

The-Tubs-Dead-Meat-Cover-SftDSLooks like meat’s back on the menu boys!

After the Welsh noise pop outfit Joanna Gruesome disbanded two of it’s core members, Owen Willams and George Nicholls, moved to London and decided to start over. They hooked up with Wozza Warren and Matt Green and formed The Tubs. This is as far as our history lesson needs to go because it doesn’t get any more interesting. Luckily their debut record Dead Meat offers more points to talk about.

Let’s get some other boring facts out of the way first. Dead Meat is a short album that clocks at 26 minutes and spans nine songs. Six of those songs only last about two minutes which is a smart move because of the pay per stream-era we live in. Just beware that you have to pay attention because Dead Meat is over before you know it. On the more pseudo-fact side of things you have to stretch your ideas of the genres post-punk, guitar jangle and British folk. Apparently these genres all come together on this debut. As much as we like experimental music we wouldn’t file Dead Meat under such a label. Let’s put it this way: do you like let’s say The Smiths and thus don’t mind uptempo rock songs? If yes, this is an album you should give a fair chance.

In the very first seconds of the album we hear some squeaking that could be a very short ode to Joanna Gruesome. Easter egg or not, Illusion Pt.II kicks off on a high note and brings in catchy lead guitar play and pumping baselines. Both swirl around Willams while he reflects on his long lost carefree youth. Willams’s singing has an affecting kind of tremble in it which in combination with the melodic guitars and guest vocals of another Gruesome member, Lan McArdle, makes all of the songs instant hum-alongs. As said, The Tubs cross all kinds of genres and manage to do it with apparent ease.

Let’s browse around for a sec. Two Person Love for example offers great pop hooks and a catchy chorus while the title track features a more frantic punk-rock sound. Apart from each other the various songs differ but also within songs the band doesn’t sit still. Sniveller evolves from a simple baseline to a full post-rock sound to a charming duet and That’s Fine contains some nice tempo changes. Much of the harmonies on Dead Meat will remind of something in the distant past. Do we hear shards of The Cranberries on Duped? Is the organ filled  I Don’t Know How It Works a modern substitute for that other pub rock classic The Walk of Life by Dire Straits? Is the spirit of Michael Stipe present on Wretched Lie? Oh, right the latter seems a bit far-fetched but on the other hand, we are talking all bangers, no clangers over here so why not overreact.

Willams’ personal lyrics are very cynical and raw and don’t fit the upbeat nature of the album’s music. On Sniveller he calls himself a booklicker, arselicker and sycophant and also doens’t shun to mention a bad rash on his groin during the title track. From a perspective of low self esteem he seems to conclude that he is impossible to be with. So lyrically this debut offers a lot to chew on…

Anyway, Dead Meat is a very lively, very British sounding album containing a set of charming but also abrasive rock songs made for modern days. Now do we need to say more? Well, yes. The Tubs are rightfully this year’s first big hype, too bad the album is a bit on the short side. Still there is enough creativity there to at least wonder what these lads have in store for us later on. For now it’s time to set the table, take a seat in our easy chair, cross our arms and maybe tap one feat to the beat of Dead Meat. Bon Appétit!

Label: Trouble in Mind, 2023

Buy it here:


  1. Illusion Pt. II (4:36)
  2. Two Person Love (2:19)
  3. I Don’t Know How It Works (2:14)
  4. Dead Meat (1:30)
  5. Sniveller (4:18)
  6. Duped (2:09)
  7. That’s Fine (2:33)
  8. Round the Bend (2:14)
  9. Wretched Lie (4:09)


  • Owen Williams- vocals
  • George Nicholls- guitar
  • Max Warren- bass
  • Matthew Green- drums
  • Lan McArdle – guest vocals

Review by Wander Meulemans // 050223


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