It’s an audacious, frenetic start, and from there the album barely lets up. The band have stated their dislike for ‘slow songs’ and keep true to their word, My Time Outside The Womb and Joset of Nazareth’s Blues, rushing past in a blur of slurred words and alcohol-stained hopes.
The five minute long Arms Against Atrophy is another highlight. A deceptively simple riff kicks things off in typically frantic fashion, Stickles voice trying to keep up with the momentum of the band before the song ramps up a gear and a ridiculously catchy guitar riff appears from nowhere.
When they eventually do slow things down they manage to keep the drama quota just as high. No Future, Pt 1 is over seven minutes of unrestrained nihilism, a loping, crumpled, almost rusty sounding paean to lost hope that ironically ends with the line “Good times are here again”. Stickles sounds about as happy as you imagine he would be if he learnt George Bush was staying on for another four years.
The album ends with a guitar cacophony named after the French philosopher and writer most noted for his ideas on the Absurd, Albert Camus. Camus worked on the theory that everything has its opposite and that happiness is fleeting, whilst his aim was not to revel in the morbid but to show that you needed to appreciate life while you could.
This sense of being aware of our own impending death leading to a heightened sense of life sums up perfectly The Airing of Grievances, an album that bemoans the past, shrugs it’s shoulders and raises a glass to the future.