Its pretty surprising to be typing these words in 2014, but then again, maybe it isn't? The Pop Group, who have played a few reunion gigs over the last couple of years, seems to really be back...lets hope they don't frighten the kiddies. Not only is there a new video (see below), but there is a reissue of the incredible We Are Time (originally released in 1980), and a new collection of rarities entitled Cabinet of Curiosities.
Here's the scoop:
We Are Time, named after one of their most infamous onslaughts and originally released on vinyl in 1980, has been remastered from original tapes and is one of two albums being released on October 21st spearheading the reissue program. Of the early live and studio recordings that comprise We Are Time, frontman Mark Stewart says “The Pop Group was mutating so fast right from the start that it was crucial to document those first experiments with this compilation. We Are Time is really ‘the’ teenage Pop Group album. It’s full of defiance and the material demonstrates the band's staunch independence and our really early DIY ethic before the studio became another instrument.”
Guitarist Gareth Sager explains that the band was “trying in an inexplicably naive manner to combine Patti Smith’s Rimbaud ramblings, James Brown, the Stooges, Roxy Music, T. Rex and classical aleatoric music. You can hear the results of this on tracks ‘Genius Or Lunatic,’ ‘Colour Blind,’ ‘Trap,’ ‘Sense Of Purpose,’ ‘Kiss The Book’ and ‘We Are Time.” He goes on to say “soon after this the band were bringing in other influences, Ornette Coleman, King Tubby, Funkadelic, Debussy, Jacques Brel, Fela Kuti, Steve Reich and then you get ‘Thief Of Fire.’”
Also being released in October, Cabinet Of Curiosities is a brand new, nine-track compilation which kicks off with the fractured future-funk single “Where There’s A Will,” originally released as a double A-side shared with The Slits in 1980, and described by Sager as “The group’s best attempt to mix a message with a groove plus some real free playing. If you are really unhinged you may be able to dance to this.” Next up is the unheard, original Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) produced version of “She Is Beyond Good And Evil,” probably the band’s most infamous song (covered by St Vincent on the Jimmy Fallon show and throughout her Strange Mercy tour).
Cabinet Of Curiosities continues with BBC John Peel session tracks “We Are Time” and “Words Disobey Me,” and rounds up previously unreleased songs, “Abstract Heart” and “Karen’s Car,” and other alternative versions. Of “Karen’s Car,” recorded in Finland, Sager recalls “appropriately our final stand with just Stewart, Sager, Smith and Waddington left. This is the sound of paranoia, groove and noise at its height. There was nowhere left to go”. Mark Stewart describes Cabinet Of Curiosities as being of similar status to a lost Pop Group album.
Their original missives, which Mark Stewart describes as “an index of possibilities”, still explode with an incandescent spirit and energy, which has influenced numerous musicians throughout the years.
"Colour Blind" (in the video below) is a very early recording of The Pop Group from We Are Time which will be available for pre-order from 18th August on iTunes. "Colour Blind" will be delivered immediately as an instant gratification track from the same date. Visit iTunes for the pre-order: http://smarturl.it/WeAreTime-iTunes.
“It’s one of those moments when the cogs of your mind shift and your life is going to irreversibly change forever” - Nick Cave on hearing The Pop Group for the first time.
“Without The Pop Group I don’t know what The Minutemen would have sounded like” - Mike Watt
Both albums will be available on all formats individually and also packaged together as a limited CD box set accompanied by memorabilia and an extensive 36pp booklet.A UK tour is planned to accompany the first wave of reissues.
12. Thief Of Fire
3. Genius Or Lunatic
4. Colour Blind
5. Spanish Inquisition
6. Kiss The Book
7. Amnesty Report
9. Sense Of Purpose
10. We Are Time
1. Where There’s A Will
2. She Is Beyond Good And Evil
3. Colour Blind
4. Words Disobey Me
5. Don’t Sell Your Dreams
6. We Are Time
7. Abstract Heart
8. Amnesty Report III
9. Karen’s Car