Thursday, July 26, 2007

My '70s Remastered - The Pop Group

Rhino Records is a great label when it comes to reissues - everybody knows that. In April they put out a remastered and (slightly) expanded version of the classic Y by seminal UK post-p(f)unkers The Pop Group. It is a glorious thing. The only problem is that it is a Euro only release. Seeing as how the label has a big presence in the US I find it surprising that it hasn't surfaced yet. This week I came across the import at my local priced at $17 and had to have it. I have been rocking a crusty rip of this record for years now and it is ace to hear a crisp, loud and clear recording.

Originally released in 1979, this is the Bristol band's debut, produced by UK dub master Dennis Bovell. It is a royal soundclash, with funk, punk, jazz, art rock and radical politics all colliding in a sometimes heady brew. Lets be upfront here - it is not an easy listening record. Half the time it sounds as if the five members are all coming from someplace different. But then they hit that spot where they are all in agreement and BAM! You get a song like their debut single
She Is Beyond Good And Evil. Not on the original version of the album, it is a memorable bit of audio roughing up, as vocalist Mark Stewart rants and shrieks and squawks at you while the band plays like The JBs on acid. Included on this reissue is the bonus cut 3:38. A cool bit of psychedelic dub, it was created when Dennis Bovell took the track for She Is Beyond Good And Evil and played it backwards. A nice bit of deconstruction.

For further critical analysis read this review on Julian Cope's Head Heritage site or this review from Stylus.

Listen to more of The Pop Group on The Hype Machine.

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