“Y” was the absolute masterpiece of the Pop Group, created by a handful of talented guys and produced by the Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell’s spatial mind. It was like the Big Bang, the perfect fusion of dub, funk, third world, anarchy, political commitment, free jazz, dilated sax, errant piano notes, voice treated with the garrotte and vague Tim Buckley influences.
An absolute beauty, urgent, intense, that went beyond the purely musical field.
The latter is still produced by Dennis Bovell in teams with, Bomb Squad / Public Enemy, Hank Shocklee.
Anyway, the albums produced by different people scare me, because they risk to be uneven, but over the years the style of Bovell evolved / convoluted following in the footsteps of the great guru Lee “Scratch” Perry arriving at a kind of spaceship dub, syncopated and certainly with a greater number of bits than the classic one. A sound that, in hindsight, is not too much different from that typically urban and furious made by Hank Shocklee.
The end result is a sound pretty close to soloists Mark Stewart albums, with notes that seem to chase on killer basslines, sounds created with the Williams Burroughs cut-up technical and the usual, acute, unique socio-political criticism typical of this gang of Artists that philosophers have always been.
Sometimes, as in “War Inc”, the Public Enemy references are quite evident and in some passages seem samplings of “Yo Bum Rush The Show”, but in principle I would say that the Pop Group just got the hip hop among the suggestions used in the creation of this fresco that still repeats the magic striking at the heart of the listener with provocations aimed at stimulating awareness, the demolition of the veil that hides the reality. A work similar to the glasses worn by the heroes of John Carpenter “They Live”, an exhortation to think for themselves and watch with their own eyes to follow their dreams forgotting the conventions.
“Y” was pure compassionate poem, “For How Much Longer…” hope, inciting to riot, anarchy in power, but the Pop Group of the new millennium seems to want to point the way, observing the situation from the outside, almost disillusioned , as if the High Ideals they had stayed, but the Crazy Dreams were shattered.
The Gareth Sager guitars is accurate, dry and cruel, it is like he neglect his characteristic Impressionist aura of fantasy in a free form, sometimes funky with solutions other than those which we had become accustomed aggressive, sometimes his guitar is hit by neon colors to describe cold landscapes of disturbance. The drums are quite contained and kept within the boundaries of functionality to the development of the songs. The backbeat rhythms, bright and unique, have given way to less bold solutions, almost a background accompaniment, however, will not be detrimental to the success of the project.
I mean, after all, this time, the Pop Group still manages to hit the target. It seems that the boys from Bristol have been cursed since adolescence in not being able to achieve less than beautiful Albums.
And what are you waiting for? Do not you want to start using your brain? Do not you want to know who stole your freedom? Then go, go out and buy yourself this fucking album and start your path to freedom.
Pre-order at thepopgroup.lnk.to/HoneymoonOnMars