Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Issue

A recent commenter let me know how he thought the band Prism was crap and he thanked me for exposing him to them so he could avoid them like the plague. I mention this because if there ever was a band who people either really liked or they sent people screaming for the hills it would have to be Public Image Ltd. They are another one of those bands that I find there is no middle ground, people hate them or like them.

First Issue (aka Public Image) is the post punk debut album by Public Image Ltd. released in 1978. In preparing this album the band spent their recording budget well before the record was completed. The members have since admitted that a significant amount was spent on drugs. As a result, the final album comprised eight tracks of varying sound quality, half of which were written and recorded in a rush after the money had run out. The album was considered groundbreaking on its release in December 1978. Grounded in heavy dub reggae, Jah Wobble's bass tone was called "impossibly deep" by contemporary reviews. Keith Levene's sharp guitar sound, played on an aluminium Veleno guitar, was widely imitated, most notably by The Edge of U2. Lydon's vocals were more tuneless and incantatory than in the Sex Pistols, gesturing toward the avant-garde territory.

The single "Public Image" was widely seen as diatribe against Malcolm McLaren and his perceived manipulation of Lydon during his career with the Sex Pistols. The closing track "Fodderstompf", heavily influenced by dub, comprises nearly eight minutes of a circular bass riff, played over a Lydon/Levene double act lampooning public outrage, love songs and teenage apathy. The track culminates with the sound of a fire extinguisher being let off in the recording studio, as Lydon had lit a fire while in a weird trance like state while recording. It's fitting because sometimes you need to be in a weird trance like state to listen to it. Better still, if one has imbibed some good BC bud, you might find the whole thing quite brilliant. Song highlights include Public Image,Religion 1&2,and Annalisa. Religion 1&2 in particular are brilliant because of the stand that Lydon takes against the Catholic Church. Lydon grew up in a Catholic family and you can really feel his anger towards the church in the lyrics. It's quite scathing. Sometimes I need to be in the right mood to listen to the more far out PiL but overall I thoroughly enjoy their entire catalog.

Religion II
Buy It

Funny Toon