This Is PiL review by Public Image Ltd

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  • Released: May 28, 2012
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.4 (8 votes)
Public Image Ltd: This Is PiL
3

Sound — 7
Ignore the line you're about to bash as a stereotype, but you can't always get what you want. It's the story behind any band that a) sees a hiatus on the horizon, drowns and then resuscitates itself with the idea of new beginning, or b) makes a subtle attempt to reincarnate their youth. But behind John Lydon's "I don't want your God damn two cents" attitude, Public Image Limited grab you by the shirt collar to make you notice the fire in their eyes. It's what makes PiL, well, PiL and it's what kicks "This Is PiL" to test their original founding of post-punk and shape it into an attention-grabbing (not seeking) record that twists through proud shouts, dub-fused disco and electric sass. Where "Deeper Water" brushes off the rust of British reggae and "Reggie Song" features Lu Edmonds contorting sounds out of his guitar to shape an avant-garde pop-punkish song, the rest of the album integrates new energy into the night terrors it intends to emit. The only problem is: this isn't the '80s. "Flowers Of Romance" and "Death Disco" aren't shrines of experimental compositions anymore, and it leaves "This Is PiL"'s focus blurred due to the slams after slams of mixed styles and genres.

Lyrics — 6
To add to their otherworldly perspective, PiL - specifically Lydon and his anti-social outbursts that make him sound like an agitated homeless man begging for change - never really blast you in the head with lyrical creativity. That's not to say Lydon still isn't a driving vocal force. His angst-flaming pipes pushed the birth of punk to its rightful seat in clubs and arenas rather being restricted to floors of pop-up spots and his unexpected ferocity is what influences drawn-up European post-punk outfits like Iceage, Lower and Holograms. But if you can't brace a bit of control of your voice, how is it feasible to listen to Lydon slam down during the band's unhinged rock pieces? It isn't, even if he punks out with aggression with exclamations like "I am no vulture, this is my culture".

Overall Impression — 7
Maybe it's the past diluting the listening experience, but Public Image Limited's take in a new generation of music that's very chameleon-like feels forced. There are instrumental tendencies - guitars and drums that warp together to make listeners breathe in well-crafted innovation - but they never stagger, pop or crash and part of the reason could be due to Lydon coming off as more of a legend that should be nurturing young vocalists and not stalling you with ramblings that look better on paper. Yet for all the riff raff PiL have been through and the style-booming tempos they can still replicate, they deserve a hand rather than a boot to the back of the knee that points out them out to be old geezers rather than the legends they actually are.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    swave75
    I went on ahead and pre-ordered this awhile back now. Been looking forward to this for quite some time. I got the live albums that have been released and while I liked them, I wanted more. You know you are not going to get a "Flowers of Romance" or a "Metal Box" or a "Happy!" due to time and a slightly different line-up. (I say this since both Bruce Smith and Lu Edmonds are former members who left PiL once before.) PiL is a great band and hopefully all the tour pulled some rust off the creative juices.
    pete-c
    "their original founding of post-rock" Wha? Post-rock's something entirely different.
    RickyThomson
    PIL are one of (if not) the greatest band of the moment to be releasing an album. Very few bands in the past few years have made me stand up and say "WOW". Everything really does sound the same these days, and from my view, it seems all the old bands that keep on going and going are the only ones worth listening to. PIL are unique in that they are doing their own thing, just as the original punk movement did it's own thing.. and that is what i love about music. Going to see them again in september, can't wait!
    swave75
    I would say I give it 7 too. Possibly 8. It's not as bad a "That What is Not" which I hated. "One Drop" reminds me of "Death Disco" a lot which is a good thing. And I love "This is PiL". It almost seems a waste that the music to that track is wasted on Lydon telling us "This is Pil" over and over again.
    thedevil
    dude, ug team did a shit job of proofreading this thing. interested in what the album sounds like
    EpiExplorer
    pete-c wrote: "their original founding of post-rock" Wha? Post-rock's something entirely different.
    Probs meant post-punk, which is different from post-rock entirely and probably shouldn't need the 'post' bit. I'm not sure what to make of the songs on the album. Mr Rotten seems to be stuck somewhere in between making early Killing Joke music crossed with reggae, he even puts on a silly faux-Jamaican accent.