A record, below the spiel. Sometimes (to purloin one of the few Lennon lyrics that stands up to scrutiny), words flow out like rain into a paper cup. On other occasions the cursor winks slyly from its barren field of electronic white, almost daring phrase construction – such is the confidence from knowing that words are not to be paraded – not tonight. It’s even the case when concerning ourselves with matters musical; from time to time I’d rather just embrace this bottle of whatever whilst the song in question caresses the psyche in whatever manner it sees fit.
So below the words, yet another escapade within the old box of vinyl (a series running longer than Lassie, but lacking both narrative momentum and the reams of alarmed barking). A début single – and wow, what a début, catching John Lyden in the glare of musical integrity for the only fifteen minutes of his life (for readers outside of the UK, Lyden’s most recent career move has been a series of embarrassing, irony-free butter adverts, which sums up his career rather nicely). Of course it’s Keith Levene’s wonderful guitar sound that elevates this record above the ambient post-punk rhetoric; a series of riffs tight and restrained, but also gnarly, threatening not with menace but via a rampant confidence. Combine that with Jah Wobble’s forward-facing bass track, Lyden’s banshee wail, and a production highly sympathetic to the sound (something never afforded to the Pistols), and – ladies and gents – you have a record on your hands.
Public Image Limited / Public Image