While most people identify with John Lydon when he was a Sex Pistol and known as Johnny Rotten, he formed Public Image Limited after the implosion of Sex Pistols in 1978. There have been numerous Sex Pistols reunion shows since 1996, but his other band also intrigued audiences and there was always a possibility of a reunion. That happened in 2009, when Public Image Limited reformed for several live performances. The reformed group featured Lu Edmonds on guitar, Scott Firth on bass, Bruce Smith on drums and of course John Lydon on vocals. Edmonds and Smith had been in a later incarnation of PiL in the 80s, and Edmunds has been involved in numerous UK groups including The Damned, The Mekons and more, he is known as a Folk and Rock musician. Public Image Limited’s last full length album was released in 1992, an album titled This Is What Not. In November of 2011, PiL announced that they were working on a new album. The band travelled to Steve Winwood’s studio in Cotswolds in the UK, a secluded farm/studio landscape and began recording material for what was to become This Is PiL, Public Image Limited’s first full length studio album in twenty years. The band first released an EP, the One Drop EP for 2012 Record Store Day. In May of 2012, This Is PiL was released.
So what’s the difference between this album and other PiL albums? The album features the embodiment of what PiL initially stood for their Post Punk sound that was extremely influential, they were one of the first bands to be identified as Post Punk, in the late 70s following the release of their First Issue album. Their sound featured elements of Dub, Folk, what some people now call Noise Rock and other genres, all of which you can find on this album. The album has many strong points most notably the lead off single “One Drop” a song with a slow Reggae/Dub experimental groove that lyrically identifies with the youth of today, while at the same time Lydon reflects on his time as a youth in England. Other standout tracks include the title track “This Is PiL”, a song that features a predominant Folk like guitar rhythm mixed in amongst heavy Dub like bass, “Deeper Water” is a song that was done in one take, but one in which as John stated for Rolling Stone in May of 2012 is a song about “about bad influences, bad information, bad leadership”.
The album also features many experimental moments such as “The Room I Am In” and “Lollipop Opera” a song which is a Dance music track with Folk and Post Punk guitar stabs reminiscent of John McGeoch, a guitarist that was a later member of PiL as well as being in Magazine and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The albums artwork was done by John Lydon himself, it is a painting that he created for the cover that adheres to a complete DIY ethic and coincides with the albums release, which was NOT on a major label, but on Johns own PiL Official label. When released in May 2012, the album went to number 35 on the UK album charts. Overall This Is PiL is an album that has all the good qualities of previous Public Image Limited albums, but one that also features what many reviews are calling a “stylistic evolution”. This Is PiL has been called their best album in years, and it truly is. It has been twenty years, but the new Public Image Limited sound rejuvenated and fresh.
This week's play list:
1. The Aces – Why Should It Be Mine
2. Spits – Wait
3. Songs For Snakes – F.E.A.R.
4. Blonds – Run
5. The Schomberg Fair – Touched By Fire
6. Indian Wars – Tom Dula
7. The Cynics – I Need More
8. Captain Higgins – AM Radio
9. Skip Jensen – Done Tried
10. The Sinners – No Brain Required
11. Gentlemen of Horror – Overhead Projector
12. Animal Kingdom – Tension
13. Japandroids – For The Love of Ivy
14. Joey Ramone – Rock N’ Roll Is The Answer
15. Luger Boa – What Is Real?
16. Only Ones – The Happy Pilgrim
17. Public Image Limited – This Is PIL
18. Gang of Four – What We All Want (Live)
19. Crystal Swells - Kelly Bayside
20. Holograms – ABC City
21. Jaill - I'm Home
22. Modern Lovers – Government Center
23. The Black Lips – Sick Of You
24. The Black Lips – Dance With You
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.