Public Image Ltd
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The first reaction from John Lydon after the demise of the Sex Pistols. He teamed up with Keith Levene, Martyn Atkins and Jah Wobble for what was a bold statement at the time. Lydon was the familiar character, but Instead of heading a punk outfit, here he was fronting this dark, brooding experimental and somewhat obtuse gang who broke new ground for the postpunk movement. First Issue stands as a document of a time when Diy ruled and music was a free for all. EMI. 2004.
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Lydon joined up with Keith Levene (ex-Clash) and enlisted another novice bassist in Jah Wobble (John Wobble, one of the 'Johns') as he had with Sid Vicious (John Ritchie, another of the 'Johns') who replaced Matlock in the Sex Pistols.
The result was entirely different this time though, with the Pistols Vicious was learning the repertoire of an established act, with PIL Wobble was part of the creative development and he wrote bass parts to suit his playing. As the Sex Pistols were the originators of English Punk, PIL were at the start of a new post-punk movement.
This, their first album, was released less than a year from the Pistols breakup in America and was on a totally different tangent. Lydon still retains the ability to strongly offend, but the music is now very much bass-driven, with Wobble's simple but melodic repetitive riffs driving through each song with the texture of Levene's guitar sprinkling the icing over the top.
Having bought this on vinyl as a teenager, I'm surprised it took me so long to get it on CD.
This first release has the "in your face" attitude of punk rock, but it goes off into other realms. Some people have labeled PIL as the first post-punk group or a new wave group. I can't give too much of a opinion on that, but what I can say is that this album offer punk but also something very different from punk. It has two very long and strange songs called 'Theme' and 'Fodderstompf'; it is an odd experience to hear them because they are difficult to listen to but they have the ability to draw you in. The highlight of the album is the song 'Public Image', which will probably go down as one of the most underrated rock songs in history. I had not heard this song until about a year ago and now it is one of my favorite rock tracks. It has a killer guitar riff that is likely to stay in your heads for a long time. Another striking track is 'Attack', which begins with the sound of someone ready to spit a loogie and then goes off into a monster drum beat and guitar lick. This is accompanied by Lydon's relentless screaming.
When listening to this album, I can't help but think how much the sound and singing influenced the later alternative and grunge bands of the 1990s - and this album was made in 1978. It must have been years ahead of its time!
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Sex Pistols was rock music. This is noisy, in your face, purposefully abrasive.Read more