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on May 29, 2012
This is an awesome record! Its got that droning bass back that was gone from PIL's last 3-4 records. Lyrically Lydon is on top of his game, but then he never really wrote crappy songs as far as lyrics are concerned.
The album opens up with "This is PIL". essentially it's just Lydon saying over and over in 3 different ways "hey...PIL's back!" and it suits him just well, he has always had a loud mouth so telling us his projects back in this manner is a fitting introduction track. The next track is One Drop which I'm sure all PIL fans have heard by now either via radio, download or Youtube. Deeper water is sung with a sort of stream of consciousness style. The next 2 tracks are typical Post Punk rock songs, Terra-Gate being much quicker paced and more energetic and Human having a catchy quirkiness to it, really nice guitar on the latter's track. I Must Be Dreaming has a more relaxed and funky feel to it, really chill song. It Said That is very spacey, as far as sound is concerned, and an awesome chorus, has a very southern eurpoean flavor to it (it sound like its from another song I just cannot place my finger on at the moment). The Room I am In is very gothic rockish in style, kinda like something you would expect to hear from Peter Murphy or Bauhaus, very personal lyrics with an eastern feel to them. Lollipop Opera is an experimental track, even for PIL's standards, lots of electronics in here, it's a standout track on the record. Fools is very straight forward, nothing really special, a typical PIL track, imo the least interesting on the record, but still not a bad song by any means. Reggie Song is an upbeat song, another rocker, very similar to something you would hear off of "Happy?" in fact. The final track, Out of The Woods, is another great song, probly my favorite off the entire record. Its a 9 min. long epic track with a nice slow build up and incredible chorus, worthy enough to stand up to anything off of Metal Box.

The record is very strong, it proves Lydon can steer his crew in the right direction even after such a long hiatus. in fact I would say its a good place to start if you are new to Public Image Limited. Not only would I recommend this to PIL Fans but also to fans of newer music. Why is that you might say? Because on This Is PIL, you can hear Trip Hop, Alt. Rock, Gothic Rock, Industrial and a bit of Electronic.... and you very well should. Public Image Ltd heavily inspired many artists in those genres, in fact one could say Mr Lydon and crew helped reinvent rock when it was becoming boring and stale in the latter half of the 70's and early 80's, becoming the very first (or one of the very first) "alternative" group(s).
Its a record I will enjoy putting next to Metal Box or Flowers of Romance....if I can get it out of my car! If "selling out" is doing butter ads to form and fund your own record label and release an incredible comeback album, then by all means Mr Rotten, sell out a few more times for us please!
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on May 29, 2012
That's right, PiL is back and after 20 years have created a product of real beauty. I've been listening over and over again and am constantly struck by how great it is. There's lots of influences on display here but the most important thing is the sense of experimentalism that's come back into the group after the conventional (but still good) last three albums. This sounds a lot more like something that would have been produced by the band if they had followed a more natural evolution of songwriting after Flowers of Romance. Obviously, not the same members (when has it ever been?), but the band is 2/3 Pil vets (Lu Edmonds and Bruce Smith) so it's mostly still in the family. HIGHLY recommended.
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Talk about a well timed comeback! John Lydon's Public Image Ltd. told the rest of his story after the enevitable breakup of The Sex Pistols. He really saw punk evolve,as well as helping that evolution along with his own. Always helps to grow into your inner conflict with society. Than in 1992 grunge came in and red hot rage was back full force. So Lydon decided to take a break from the whole thing for awhile and pursue other interests. A few years ago he bought the band back together for a few live dates. With a rock world that (let's be honest here) more or less thrived on some variation of alternative/grunge rock for a decade or so,there's become again a conscious need to move towards something mildly more expansive. A genuine "alternative". So this album actually takes some cues from what the band missed out on during it's sleeper years,even when Lydon himself made his lone solo album and have come back at a socially confusing time when their probably pretty needed.

From start to finish this album is a rhythmically,melodicallyand instrumentally sonic adventure. There's plenty of that punk guitar bubbling up from below but it stays there,with none of the songs turning into the cliched noise fest. Some of the lyrics are just chants,others say quite a lot. The title song that opens the album,much as with "One Drop","Deeper Water" and "Terra Gate" are the more rockier numbers and get the ball rolling with a lot of commentary on non conformity. "Human" is a stripped down,lightly electronic dance-rock tune that is more of a lyrically reflective version of what No Doubt did a decade ago on occasion. "I Must Be Dreaming" has a brighter funk flavor to it,continuing the bands previous forays into that music "I Said That","The Room I Am In" and "Fool" all have a scewed,almost psychedelic arrangement but a much darker tone overall. The surf punk of "Reggie" speaks about a conceptualization of Christian after life. Another stripped down dance rocker "Out Of The Woods" closes the album.

Basically this is somewhat representative of music coming out of the darkness. There's overtones of grunge rocks moodiness. But without the faux theatrics that got mixed up in that music's public image. It takes from the punk roots of that whole era and concentrates on developing the grooves as opposed to guitar solos. The result is either a more dancable,funkier or another rhytmically complicated variation that matches some of Lydon's exploratory and consciously left of center lyrical assersions. Sometimes they actually make perfect sense socially. Other times they drift off into another world. Having only heard bits and pieces of their other music,I cannot tell what sort of progression this album is from their earlier music. It's also been a twenty year gap since their last studio release as well. On the other hand there's something important here. John Lydon (as Johnny Rotton) got the music world shaken up in the late 70's with the advent of British punk. And now with the band he followed that on with he has an opportunity to do something very similar. Only maybe in a somewhat quieter,less directly confrontational manner
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on June 15, 2012
After all the gushing reviews, I had high expectations of this album and I have to say I don't think it comes close to living up to the hype. Don't get me wrong, it is a solid effort and if you liked any of their later 1980s albums, you are sure to like this.

I bought the single and I thought the first two tracks were good but the 3rd and 4th seemed like B-side material, so I was a little disappointed to see all four on the album, although there are 12 songs overall, so it is easy to think of the other two songs as bonus tracks, I suppose.

If I had to compare it to PiL's other work, I'd say it is probably most like 9, with less synths and a slightly more dub-like feel to the rhythms, although nothing more than a faint echo of the Jah Wobble era stuff. The guitar work is straight from Happy? or 9, so even though John McGeoch is no longer with us his influence endures (which is a good thing). Needless to say, Lydon is Lydon and he delivers just want you'd expect, although his voice is sounding a little ragged around the edges these days. My favourite cut is probably Deeper Water but the album is generally quite consistent and One Drop, the single, is also good.

Overall I think this album is pretty good and it is great to have PiL back. It is probably as good as 9 or Happy? but I was probably hoping for something a little more full-on, which this definitely is not.
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on June 2, 2012
This is one of their best efforts. Sounds quality is impeccable, musicianship is outstanding, compositions are solid, music is inspiring. And most importantly, Johnny's voice is at its best. I love every single song and how well they sound. The bass lines are mesmerizing, lots of disco/dub reggae grooves. Sounds similar to Happy, but quite a bit better in my opinion. I just love the catchy grooves, it's hard to put down this album.
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on October 3, 2015
Let me start by saying I'm a fan of all PIL phases and this recent one is no exception. Having gotten into them in 1984 via Flowers Of Romance I always felt that no matter the Pistols this was the band and creative outled Lydon needed. Regardless the backing line up I have found enjoyment and outstanding music on every release. This Is Pil continues the trend a shocking number of years after the last release. It really is hard to pinpoint best songs due to the fact that I always seem to listen to it from start to finish, each song is unique from the others but each contributes to a flow that's almost mesmerizing. If forced, however, Deeper Water would be a standout among them all.

Look, if your a long time fan you may or may not embrace it right away if you disliked certain sections of their career. If you're new to them it won't matter and in some ways you would be lucky you'll be listening free of biases. Either way, it's a triumph as far as I'm concerned and more experimental yet melodic than most artists as long in the tooth career wise as Lydon is.
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on September 14, 2012
First of all, the music world has been missing something lately without Johnny. Whether it is his worldview or his vocal delivery, no one does things the way he does. After a 20 year layoff, he sounds vibrant and engaged. He has something to say and is going all-in to say it.

As for the songs themselves, the opener/title track is fitting, sort of a modern-day version of Theme. I like the next four songs and even though the lyrics sometimes feel a little forced they aggressively get the message across. Lollipop Opera stands out with its unique beat and bass line. The last two tracks are what make the album special. Reggie's Song does a great job of making you empathize with the subject. Out of the Wood is a real surprise. While I know that the song is about a black Confederate soldier, the story being told isn't completely obvious (and there is no lyric sheet). The thing it that it is such a great track musically that I want to listen to again and again and I am sure that it will eventually make sense.

My biggest problem with the album is that it (like most albums of the CD/post-CD era) is too long. Other than Metal Box (which was originally released as a triple EP, not a double LP), all of the rest of their albums have been the length of a traditional 40 minute LP. This time, the songs in the middle get lost in the shuffle and don't make much of an impact. They aren't horrible, they just aren't exceptional. I feel that it has much more of an impact this way with this running order:

This is PiL
One Drop
Deeper Water
Human
Terrorgate
---
Lollipop Opera
Fool
Reggie's Song
Out of the Wood

One last thing, if you think you are likely to like this album, go ahead and buy the deluxe version. The DVD concert is very good.
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on August 6, 2012
Pretty good pretty fresh. If you like P.I.L. you'll likely like this. John Lydon always plays with words and how they sound, seems like on this album he focuses on that, repeats words with slightly different phrasing, uses very similar sounding words side by side etc. Sounds like an invitation to think about things from different angles.
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on June 18, 2012
There are two schools of thought with PiL: The Wobble/Levene incarnation and the subsequent band line-ups without. Technically, a better name for the latter would be The John Lydon Band as the difference between the two is truly radical. The Wobble/Levene incarnation was highly experimental with some of the most extreme sounds ever committed to record while the subsequent version comes across as being more traditional. Some prefer one over the other... some like both... I fall into the latter catagory.

All that said, this is not the revelation one would have expected after nearly two decades of silence. It sounds as if it picks up where the 90s incarnation left off. There are excellent tracks throughout, but nothing can be termed brand new or different. Actually, it is an improvement over PiL of decades ago in that the dated 80s 'dance' sound is gone, and overall, it really is good album worth considerable playlist time. Also, it is great to see new material was written at all. So often bands reunite only to trot out their biggest hits from long ago. Fortunately, John Lydon's band is a vital and living band and not a nostalgia act.

I first heard the regular CD version and thought it was a 4-star release. However, the Deluxe Edition, which comes with a DVD is certainly 5-stars. Besides the really great packaging, the included DVD is excellent beyond measure. Lo and behold, the new songs come across far better live than in the studio.

Highly recommended, especially to those who liked the non-Wobble/Levene band (although the bass thunders on this new release more so than on any other release since Metal Box). It is also a good place to start for newcomers, and from here, check out the rest of the previous releases. Meanwhile Jah Wobble and Keith Levene have recently been collaborating again with a relatively new release simply titled EP (a four-track "extended play" single). When hearing this, one cannot help but wonder what a reunuion of these musical giants would have been like under the banner of Public Image Ltd. Apparently that will never happen, so we are left with the divided talents on This Is PiL and EP, but fortunately, that is not a bad thing.
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on June 2, 2012
Recording quality is great. John,Lu,Scott, and Bruce are all in top form and anyone that doubted the PiL comeback is a fool.
It is nice to hear real musicians playing real instruments and they actually wrote their own songs. Great job guys please come back across the atlantic. I have been a fan since 1986 and will stay a fan until the end.
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