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Public Image Ltd, This Is PiL
PiL Official Records, May 29

06/07/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Johnny Rotten — that is, John Lydon, to the queen — hasn’t done a PiL record in 20 years, a respite that gave him time to watch hip-hop rise and fall, and in the meantime allow things, bad and good, to transpire in his life. Touted by some as the best PiL since Metal Box, it’s nonetheless an unsurprising record, even if it’s revelatory in the sense that the world seems to have forgotten that crazy white guys can toast just as effectively as today’s marketing majors posing as former drug dealers. Toward this he opens the LP with the title track, a Joy Division-ish throwaway riff supporting Lydon as he efforts to find the Johnny Rottenest way of bellowing “This is PILLL!” On we brave, then, with Happy?-era members Lu Edmonds and Bruce Smith throwing out Police-ska things (“One Drop”), Bauhaus things (“It Said That,” the stout and stunning “Deeper Water”) and goth-disco things (“Lollipop Opera”) for Lydon to be Lydon over.  I swear he only sings two distinct notes when he’s in singing mode for half of the stuff, but who’s counting, really. A —Eric W. Saeger






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