At the end of 2010, Poly Styrene, the unforgettable frontwoman and iconicface of the seminal UK punk band X'ray Spex announced her return to the music scene with the album Generation Indigo produced by Youth (The Verve, Killing Joke, TheFireman, Edwyn Collins. Poly Styrene remains a genuine icon and one of the main influences on the Riot Grrri scenes with bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gossip, LeTigre and others recognizing her fiery, irrepressible presence. With her great self'styled image, brilliantly sharp lyrics and powerful presence, Poly's indomitable spirit still inspires.
The album kicks off with the mighty, power'pop of 'I Luv Ur Sneakers'and maintains the quick pace with first single 'Virtual Boyfriend' before then moving into dubstep territories on the title track 'Generation Indigo'.
The album takes in everything from neo'X'ray Spex punk rock on 'Thrash City' and 'L.U.V' to the Trojan'reggae infused grooves of 'No Rockefeller', 'Code Pink Dub' and 'Colour Blind' whilst stand out songs,
'Thrash City' and 'White Gold' attest to the power of Poly's soaring vocals. Poly showcases humorous musings on pop culture, the intenet and fashion whilst also tackling heavier subject matter (war and racism) with her politically aware and intelligent lyrics.
As Day-Glo frontwoman of London's X-Ray Spex, Poly Styrene penned punk's ultimate consumer-culture critique, Germ Free Adolescents. Thirty-three years later, teaming with producer Youth (the Verve, the Orb) while also battling breast cancer, she presides over an atom-sharp array of digital dance rock, reggae, and ye olde buzz-saw guitar and sax. Whether deleting Internet suitors (Virtual Boyfriend) or celebrating cruelty-free footwear (I Luv Ur Sneakers), her street-smart squeak and plastic-fantastic perspective are undimmed, now buoyed by a heartfelt bene-ficence.
8/10 SPIN --Spin
Poly Styrene stood out in British punk. Female in a male world, heavy in a skinny world, half-African in a white world, flaunting braces that looked like they could dent a lorry, she's linked in history to a song as iconic as Anarchy in the U.K itself.
Though many remember Poly Styrene solely for Oh Bondage Up Yours!, the X-Ray Spex album Germfree Adolescents was a Britpunk monument, bristling with unforgettable statements of principle like Genetic Engineering and I Am a Poseur. But just two years later came her quiet, slick, melodic, uncategorizable solo album Translucence. Then Poly Styrene joined Hare Krishna, quit the movement but kept the faith, raised a daughter who leads her own band, and just now released her third album, Generation Indigo.
In I Luv Ur Sneakers,the line No animal died or lost its soul and that accelerating hook is enough to put the song on the fashion victim's edition of the all-time vegan hit parade. Though her ingrained defiance coexists peacefully with her religious commitment, Poly Styrene claims she's still a poseur. But she's never let image get in the way of lucidity. She always says what she means plainly, winningly and tunefully, and on Generation Indigo those meanings are moral.
If songs like Colour Blind suggest a do-gooder's pop-reggae album, well, tough. Good is what Poly Styrene wants to do with Generation Indigo. Producer Martin Glover balances his biggest credits with a range that suits her perfectly: Killing Joke and Paul McCartney. Sadly, treatment for recently diagnosed breast cancer has caused the postponement of an American tour. But Poly Styrene is ready to meet you anyway, on her own idiosyncratic terms.
Update, April 26: Poly Styrene reportedly passed away last night. --NPR Music