Apr 2012 24

Pop Will Eat Itself - New Noise Designed by a SadistPop Will Eat Itself
Genre: Industrial Rock / Alternative
Album: New Noise Designed by a Sadist
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Masters of Grebo are back but you’d be forgiven for asking, “What the hell is Grebo and why should I care?”


British Pop Will Eat Itself surfaced in the early ‘80s and under several different names drifted, largely unnoticed, through the contemporary rock scene. Finally in 1986 the band derived its current name from a press snippet and was then put on the forefront of the so-called Grebo scene. Grebo, in itself a forced media creation – a marketable artifice that encompassed a wide array of subcultures like rockers and bikers – never took off and inkies themselves soon ditched it. Although the term proved inherent and is still used in the UK (mostly in a pejorative manner), PWEI was largely absent since their disbanding in the mid ‘90s.

Given that only one member of Pop Will Eat Itself’s original lineup returns to herald this album, it is hardly a case of a full-fledged reactivation. Despite the staffing handicap, Graham Crabb has made sure that New Noise Designed by a Sadist doesn’t try too hard to distance itself from the band’s previous efforts. It’s an odd pleasure to observe this 2011 release cling so desperately to the past but PWEI’s appeal in this retro form is even more limited than it was some 20 years ago at the peak of their popularity. With little prep-talk, “Back 2 Business” reintroduces a musical creation that spent a considerable part of the last decade in limbo. Self aware like those countless commentary tracks of Sascha Konietzko on KMFDM albums, “Back 2 Business” is merely a brief intro but alarmingly cynical in a way that it marks Crabb’s approach to PWEI’s return. New Noise Designed by a Sadist lacks a clear agenda and threads blindly among the corpses of bands that it evokes. Heavy guitar riffs seem hammier than they should and they are indeed a good indication of upcoming attractions.

Adequate but lifeless, “Chaos & Mayhem” is a perfect example of a musical standstill in which PWEI seems to be entrapped. The album fails to take off and settles for a consistent breakneck tempo that never slows down but also never reaches a visible peak. If there is one thing that Crabb manages to prove beyond any doubt with this release, it’s Poppie’s technical brilliance. All tracks are superbly produced and highly polished and no amount of careful nitpicking could reveal any major flaws when it comes to arrangements on New Noise…. Sadly then, it is not inept production and realization that determines inevitable failure of this album in communicating with its audience. All of the material on New Noise Designed by a Sadist is bent on recapturing the musical sensibility of industrial rock in its purest, long demised form. While most songs are vividly underlined by massive amount of pure energy manifested in jittery guitars and dynamic drumming, they all uniformly fail to make a long lasting impression. If it wasn’t for the typical structure of the content on the album, each individual song could be easily merged with another, all of them indistinguishably neutral in their appeal and originality. “Even Zero” introduces piano to break the reign of synth-driven guitars but still lapses into monotony. For all the unabashed energy forced down our ears, there’s virtually no material here that wouldn’t force its way out just a moment later. In this bland melting pot of archived sounds there are no clear highlights, although songs like “Nosebleeder Turbo TV” and “Seek & Destroy” carry a dim glimmer of hope for PWEI’s future renaissance. Both are highly substantial and dynamic even if inevitably reminiscent of anthems of the ‘90s due to rap vocals, drum machines, and synthesizers filling up the background with a familiar unison.

I hesitate to dismiss and condemn this album for its reliance on previous decade’s sound and while it is difficult to widely recommend it on the basis of nostalgia for stylization long forgotten, at its best, New Noise Designed by a Sadist remains a flawlessly produced and enjoyable record. Whether you bear with it or not, little will change on your musical horizon, but for those who still carry a lukewarm sentiment for bands like Public Image Ltd, Die Warzau, or PWEI itself, it’s a pleasant stroll down the memory lane that is neither exhausting nor surprising. For everybody else, this album’s appeal will be insubstantial, lack of originality inexcusable.
Track list:

  1. Back 2 Business
  2. Chaos & Mayhem
  3. Nosebleeder Turbo T V
  4. Captain Plastic
  5. Mask
  6. Equal Zero
  7. Oldskool Cool
  8. Seek & Destroy
  9. Disguise
  10. Wasted (Part 1)
  11. Wasted (Reprise)

Pop Will Eat Itself Website http://www.pweiofficial.com
Pop Will Eat Itself MySpace http://www.myspace.com/pweination
Pop Will Eat Itself Facebook https://www.facebook.com/popwilleatitself
Pop Will Eat Itself SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/cooking-vinyl-publishing/sets/pop-will-eat-itself
Cooking Vinyl Website http://cookingvinyl.com
Cooking Vinyl MySpace http://www.myspace.com/cookingvinyl
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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