2014 looks set to be PWEI's busiest year since the 2011 reboot. An unofficial World Cup song (featuring Brazilian rapper Bnegao) is scheduled for May and a brand new Studio LP is due in September. Kicking off this burst of activity is the 6 track Pledge Music EP 'Watch the Bitch Blow'. Those attending the 2013 Sleigh the UK Gigs will have witnessed the band donning the iconic 'V For Vendetta' masks adopted by the Occupy Movement during Their Law and sensed something was brewing.
All is revealed now as the title track to the EP sees PWEI unleash their most scathing political song since the days of Dos Dedos Mis Amigos, adding their voice to the growing protest against social and economic inequality. The heavy sound of the track also recalls the classic and final LP from the original line up. Contributing to the track is long time PWEI guest (and for a short while, full time member) The Buzzard. The riffs bear his unmistakable trademark sound - heavy x 10 and nasty as f*ck. This is possibly the first track that the new line up have built from the ground up and the feel is much more organic to the 2011 set of songs. It's the sound of a band and that's all the difference compared to some of the last batch of tracks which sounded in parts like songs re-recorded or reworked for a full band sound. Mary Byker is on top form spitting out the tight rap verses and the whole sound is more confident and cohesive.
As some listeners of the preview have pointed out, the track sounds in parts like Rage Against the Machine or Senser. The full picture, however, reveals plenty of the sonic twists and turns we expect from PWEI. It's a monster of a track with real bounce and it is going to cause some serious damage down the front during the upcoming tour.
Will it cause a real revolution in the streets though? Is this track going to light the touch paper, make us stop fiddling with our iPhones and stand up and shout 'I'm not going to take it anymore'? Will the downtrodden masses finally snap out of the docile state induced from the constant distractions slipped to us via the internet and TV? Distractions fed straight into our brains like the fucking Matrix that keep us worrying about Flappy Bird or how many people liked that photo of our dinner we posted on Facebook while they crack on with bleeding us and the world dry and keeping us under control? It would be pretty good if PWEI got sent to jail or for kicking it all off big time and we had to break them out. Whilst that's not going to happen they are joining the cause, standing up and saying something in an age where 'artists' just dress up in dead kittens or give the finger during the Superbowl and consider it a political statement.
The other 'new' track on the EP is one fans have been waiting to hear for the best part of a decade. ‘Hollow’ was first heard as part of the Sonic Noise Byte back in 2005 and was co written by Fuzz Townsend. The brief snippet stirred up a lot of interest with fans and many will have high hopes for this full version. It does not disappoint. Coming in at just under 7 minutes it is an epic and ambitious track. Featuring one of Crabbi's classic twisted nursery rhyme melodies it takes many stylistic turns during the dark and queasy arrangement At around 2.20 you will be adding this to Poppies 'Classics' pile. If not - whatever - time to bail out mate – you’re never going to be happy.
The rest of the EP is made up of new versions of songs fans are all familiar with and one of them may well cause a stir. The story of ‘Babylon’ and it’s difficult birth back in 1994 is well documented and many fans prefer the 'fast' radio version over the LP version. The radio session take is good stuff but the beat is a bit meh!, lets be honest. Crabbi obviously feels the song deserves another go and this new recording is similar to the ‘fast’ version but far better. A choppy, funky, early Cure sounding white funk guitar lick kicks things of and heavy dub effects throughout top the driving beat off giving it real depth. It may take some listens to get the radio version out of your head and love this layered, well crafted one more. Job well done though, this version is very cool.
Three remixes from the aborted ‘new Noise’ remix project finish off the EP with Crabbi himself taking a hammer to 'Mask. This track benefits from a 6 minute plus running time. It has more room the breath than the two previous versions as it discards the standard song arrangement of those takes. The addition of some murky spoken word samples add to the dark atmosphere. It's a lot more of a sonic journey than the LP version and the better for it – a real grower.
Kut Loaf contributes a remix of 'Every Day is a World War. The song was available as a bonus track on the 2011 LP 'New Noise Designed by a Sadist'. That version was seen as many as a bit of a misfire compared to early demo and live versions performed by Vileevils. Half of Kut loaf (I think) is ex -poppie Adam Mole. Adam remixed 'No Fear' for the Vileevils project and it was one of the best remixes of the bunch. The punky, gnarly electronica sound of that remix is carried over on this corking jump up remix.
The EP closes with a stunning remix of Wasted Part 2 by Sam Dodson of Loop Guru.
Loop Guru has a little history with PWEI here as they contributed a remix of the original Babylon to the 'Two Fingers My Friends' remix project back in 1995. This brilliant take is a woozy, disorientating and very heavy slow motion dub. It's beautifully scary. Can you remix a full PWEI LP like this please Sam?
The two new tracks heading up this LP are a big leap forwards from the first 'new' PWEI set of tracks. This is the sound of a band on fire and having a blast...at this rate I predict the forthcoming will join the ranks of classic PWEI LP's and kick like a mule!
Watch the bitch blow is immense, epic, spectacular and massive. Big riffs and superb vocals from Mary - his best contribution to the band so far. Hollow carries on for the most part like the snippets already heard but then.....well you'll have to hear for yourselves, another superb and varied track. Babylon RIP is very interesting, re-visiting a 20 year old song that already exists in two radically different versions is quite a bold move but they've pulled it off, I listened to it a couple of times and it's a grower. The remixes are great too in particular Mask, I know opinions are mixed on this song but i always liked it although this version is an improvement. Every Day is a World War and Wasted: Part 2 are also very interesting versions.
Thanks very much to Payback3000 and VMNP for their reviews.