Grand Theft Audio's Pass Me The Conch: the 90s-style dance-rock revival starts here

Re-formed Britrockers Grand Theft Audio are down to a duo on Pass Me The Conch, with no ill effects

Grand Theft Audio: Pass Me The Conch cover art
(Image: © Technical Foul)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Since getting back together in 2020, two decades after briefly making a splash, Grand Theft Audio sound revitalised even though their core members are now just two – frontman Jay Butler and erstwhile Wildhearts drummer Ritch Battersby. 

There are strong echoes of 90s-style dance-rock here, but who cares when it’s so expertly turned. 

Scrub Up is an air- punching opener blending a dancey verse with a booming rock chorus, like Jesus Jones embracing the devil’s music, while Bad Instinct has a cracking bass line thrumming through it as if EMF have been held hostage by the hard rock liberation front. Bury The Day, meanwhile, channels the punky intensity of Battersby’s other band.

It’s all shot through with a distinct world-view, too, as on the sardonic Gods Of Rock and The Load’s angry polemic against an uncaring modern world, where the advice is ‘better not be poor and don’t get old’. 

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock