The music of The Pop Group was, at one time, beyond punk, outside the normal genre boundaries. As such, it was wildly innovative, raucous, and some of the boldest music made in what is commonly termed the post-punk era. That the band survived and continue to make music that is very nearly as brave is more than impressive. The band are back with Honeymoon on Mars and this new album is out via Freaks R Us on Friday. You have been warned.
Featuring production from the legendary Dennis Bovell and the equally legendary Hack Shocklee (The Bomb Squad of Public Enemy fame), the tracks here are clattering sonic bombs lobbed at the mainstream, kinda like everything this lot has released. "Instant Halo" updates the Birthday Party template for a new century, while the Shocklee-touched "City of Eyes" unravels like recent Primal Scream cuts mixed with peak-period Iggy Pop screeds. It's fantastic, frankly, and my words probably don't do it justice. Similarly, the ominous "War, Inc." rumbles along on a vaguely techno underpinning, the effect one reminiscent of some of the best stuff produced by Mark Stewart with his other acts too. Elsewhere, the Shriekback-like "Little Town" tempers down the rage with a bass-heavy, dub-influenced backing track. If "Zipperface" is the P.i.L.-ish hit single, then reggae-tinged "Heaven" is the kind of stuff most fans of Stewart's back-catalog will be more familiar with. As the wonerfully-titled "Burn Your Flags" closes the record, a listener is thankful that Stewart and crew are still making angry, awesome music like what's found on Honeymoon on Mars.
Honeymoon on Mars, out Friday, is a statement of intent from The Pop Group. Seemingly full of as much fire as they had 30-some years ago, these provocateurs have sacrificed nothing in their approach even as the sound has mellowed in some ways. Brash, bold, and brave, the tunes here on Honeymoon on Mars are invigorating for any fan of this band, or Mark Stewart, or any of his projects.
More details via ThePopGroup.net.