1979, Music

Y (1979) by The Pop Group

Ever since I first heard about this band, I had a feeling I would like them, if only because of their name. For some reason (their name starts with a p!) it has taken me years to get around to listening to them.

Imagine a funkier, more music but more weird and avant garde, British version of the Contortions without the massive Beefheart influence and you get some vague idea of what The Pop Group sounds like. Though considerably closer to the British Post Punk mainstream than the Contortions I do think the bands are roughly on the same continuum, though these guys perhaps value musical traditions a little bit more. (That may sound like a crazy thing to say about this record unless you’ve heard the Contortions.)

This is a band that values the revolutionary possibilities of punk and the sound of punk music basically equally, which is kind of crazy. Other British post punk bands which incorporate funk often sound as though funk is subservient to the punk aspects. And though that might be true on a few songs here, for the most part the (avant garde) funk is front and centre, more vehicle for the revolutionary politics than an accent. Add to that your typical post zaniness when it comes to arrangements and mixes and this is a pretty great record.

The one thing I wanted to say in criticism is that Mark Stewart sounds like he’s listened to the Birthday Party too much. But then I looked up their discography and realized that these guys beat them to it. (Door, Door had been released but likely only in Australia, and probably only a few months earlier too.) So I don’t know that I have much to say in criticism, though I should note that it is absolutely on the more avant garde side of post punk and the sheer mania of it all might be too much for some.



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