Another one of these.
This was the first PWEI album I owned, but it was their third (I think) (WRONG). They really got into their stride and set the template for the next few, but hadn’t yet got too slick – a good few rough edges to keep it tricksy. Box Frenzy was good, but sounded a bit like they’d just discuvered drum machines and rapping. And they sampled Mel’n’Kim, FFS. On the other hand, slickness rather got in the way of Cure For Sanity, but then that was a strange time, all told.
Anyway, when this came out I was working in Woolworths, watching the sleeves come and go, and this caught my eye. I love the sleeve design. SciFi, techno imagery, cartoons and comics. Blade Runner reference. Cold-war apocalypto atomic clock. Cool typography. Now for a feast!…
PWEI Is A Four Letter Word
“P! W-E-I! P-W-E! I!”
Just a little sample and beat to lead us into…
Preaching To The Perverted
“What’s my solution? Noise pollution.”
They just go right ahead and set up shop. Straight into the rock guitars, sampled loops, nasal shouted rap, and little shout-outs to their own back catalog (“U-U-U-Ugly, oh yeah”). Poor old Rick Astley.
Wise Up! Sucker
“You say it’s love that you need, it’s war that you’ve got.”
This was the first track I actually bought, as a 7″ picture disk – it definitely caught my eye at the record fair in the Corn Exchange. Dancefloor filler, for certain. Hip-hop beats, stunning one-chord guitar and lots of twiddling solo stuff.
Sixteen Different Flavours Of Hell
A continuation of the beats from the previous track, a repetition of a key line, and then the sirens heralding…
“You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!”
Big piano mainline, singalong chorus, and rap about bedsit-based intergalactic wanderings.
Can U Dig It?
“Terminator. Hit The North! Alan Moore knows the score.”
A quick classic sample from Warriors, then straight into “stun guitar” and drum machines before the best list of 80’s British transatlantic pop subculture touchstones from music, TV, comics and movies. A shopping list to rival that one by REM. And all to a very danceable beat!
The Fuses Have Been Lit
“Got a little blue tube to give me my views.”
Slowie to end side one. Five-to-midnight on the atomic clock, and we’re all listing nihilistic suburban maladies, and food additive codes. Then we’re suddenly getting triumphant guitar licks, before diving back down into the TV samples and shortwave voice distortion. And a Deerhunter sample.
Poison To The Mind
“Music is just organized noise, and noise is poison to the mind.”
Intro to side two, with a sample from the 1967 psychedelic movie Wonderwall. Segues nicely into…
Def. Con. One.
“Confidence is high, repeat, confidence is high”
The definitive PWEI track. Dance beat, grebo guitars, movie samples, fin de siecle military-industrial complex imagery, and a chorus made up of three samples: Crazy Horses, Funky Town, and some Stooges number. Not to mention the Twilight Zone theme.
“The volume in this room is much too groomed, we need a big bad boom.”
This is a corker. The guitars are remeniscent of (though not sampled from) Two Tribes by Frankie. Classic bravado hip-hop rock rap swagger, with some hyperbole mixed in for good measure. Great for walking down Kimbolton Road heading downtown.
Shortwave Transmission On ‘Up To The Minuteman Nine’
“Offer expires while you wait”
And the same beat goes on, a lick of lyrics from the previous track is repeated, and then a sample of Eric Idle voicing Wreck-Gar from the Transformers movie.
“Do not panic…”
Seedy TV, sex, late night bedsit bliss. What a life, ladies and gentlemen! Psychosexual sado-masochism sampling Sonic Attack by Hawkwind.
Not Now James, We’re Busy…
“…pay respect to my building! It’s JB property and it could be the one you get killed in”
Stranglely enough, I had this album taped on one side of a TDK D90, and Megatop Phoenix by B.A.D. on the other. This meant the James Brown arrest was the subject of a song by two bands on one tape! Amazing.
Wake Up! Time To Die
“Surrender to the bender, and no saying ‘when'”
Sample from Blade Runner, of course. A touching little ballad to getting drunk and pissed-up on booze. Oh, the Poppies. Nice feedback drone fadeout that may have run into the runout groove, or not.
There are some filler tracks here, but because I listened to this mainly on a cassette in my “walkman” while cycling in Bedford, or riding the bus in Manchester, they all flow into one another. I got some grief from people for liking PWEI over the years, mainly from that most terrible of breeds – the Northern Authentic Music Fan. The sort of people that gave us Oasis, in fact. Basically, the albums a lot of fun for riding, dancing, driving, and tracking down lyrics and samples from. As I said, it was b/w the then current B.A.D. album. I had a couple of tapes that had complemtary stuff on each side – 808 State and Front 242 was another example. These tapes rarely left my satchel.
“OK, let’s get down to it, boppers”