Frank Carter’s transformation into suited, booted soft-rock titan with new band Pure Love was a thing to behold, clearly part of his therapy. For the popular Watford combo he left behind, there’s a laudable attempt to stick a new wheel on the wagon.
Gallows haven’t forgotten that punk at its best is a short, sharp smack in the teeth, and leaving aside the camp manifesto of generalised paranoia that opens the album (Victim Culture – it sounds like the female Holly from Red Dwarf), this is pretty tight stuff, angry but self-contained, feral but never chaotic.
Guitars have climbed up a notch, being less sludgy than Grey Britain, and there’s none of your six-minute songs in two acts – the “crossroads in the writing process”, presumably, that Frank lamented in his statement of departure. Wade MacNeil doesn’t have Carter’s Cockerney-Rotten vowels, and lyrics sound prosaic in his Transatlantic burr, with choruses bolstered by multi-tracked voices instead.
But the ludicrous self-belief appears to have been passed on just fine when he cries, ‘Everybody loves you when you’re fucking dead,’ like no one’s ever said that before.