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Archive for September, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Public Image Ltd – ‘What The World Needs Now…’ (Album Review)


There is a song on ‘What The World Needs Now…’ called ‘I’m Not Satisfied’. Coming, as this sentiment does, from the former Johnny Rotten, the fact hardly needs to be plainly stated. But if John Lydon – one-time Sex Pistol, occasional butter salesman, eternal malcontent – hasn’t exactly mellowed in his old age, we can at least determine a few things that he loves.

Public Image Ltd, for instance. Lydon used Country Life to get his post-Pistols group back in the recording studio, and aged 59, when many creaky old rockers are topping up their retirement fund, he’s making obstreperous, cantankerous, often quite silly music that caters to no-one but himself. As an illustration of this, PiL’s 11th album kicks off with a track, ‘Double Trouble’, on which Lydon delivers a monologue about a broken toilet. For a moment, you wonder if Lydon is trying to outdo spiritual heirs Sleaford Mods on the scatological front. But then, a sweetly intoned “Domestos is/domestic bliss” reminds you this man is charismatic enough to sell the nation dairy produce if that’s what it takes to keep the PiL show on the road.

‘What The World Needs Now…’ sounds much the same as PiL’s last album, 2012’s ‘This Is PiL’ – a mite scuzzier, perhaps, and with added bloopy synthesizer, but broadly conforming to the same formula. Lu Edmonds fires off glassy shards of guitar, Scott Firth supplies weaving dub bass, and Lydon holds forth on whatever takes his fancy. At times it gets a little saucy. ‘Bettie Page’ is a surf-tinged tribute to the ‘50s S&M pin-up that slinks along like a pair of snakeskin creepers, while ‘Spice Of Choice’ finds Lydon gleefully rhyming “master plan” with “masturbation”.

Still, the overriding feel here is one of reflection. Burly rockers like ‘Know Now’ feel a bit hackneyed, but when PiL dial it back to an atmospheric, twilit dub, as on extinction anthem ‘C’est La Vie’ or the clanking, mechanical ‘Corporate’ – a plea for community in an increasingly dystopian 21st Century – they still sound vital. Yes, PiL have made better records. But it’s nice to know John Lydon still cares enough to rage. “What the world needs now/Is another ‘Fuck off’!” he bellows on the closing ‘Shoom’. But this bitter PiL remains easy to swallow.

Arcade Fire Record “Afterlife” With James Murphy in The Reflektor Tapes Preview

The Reflektor Tapes is the forthcoming Arcade Fire film directed by Kahlil Joseph that follows the band as they record 2013’s Reflektor and tour the world. Last month, they released a series of trailers for the film.

Today, they shared another preview for the movie, in which the band is shown working on “Afterlife” with James Murphy. It also features some performance footage. Watch it below, via Arcade Fire Tube.

The Reflektor Tapes comes to theaters on September 23.