Pop Will Eat It­self

Def Comms 86-18

Classic Rock - - Reviews - Tim Batcup

Boxed frenzy: grebo gu­rus’ ca­reer col­lected.

Though es­sen­tially a jour­nal­is­tic con­struct, the Mid­land­s­cen­tred grebo scene of the late 80s/early 90s burned brightly (the Won­der Stuff, Ned’s

Atomic Dust­bin, Crazy­head et al), be­fore splin­ter­ing into more main­stream suc­cess or anachro­nis­tic oblit­er­a­tion.

Al­ways one of the more in­ter­est­ing of the batch, Stour­bridge’s PWEI pro­pelled them­selves out of the grungy morass with a fu­ture-seek­ing ethos that even­tu­ally led to Trent Reznor’s Noth­ing la­bel knock­ing.

Col­lected and col­lated by co-founder/singer Gra­ham Crabb, this four-disc box charts an eclec­tic ca­reer shin­ingly dressed in the digi-pop aes­thetic of The De­sign­ers Repub­lic.

Ini­tial ju­ve­nilia (Beaver Pa­trol) soon mor­phed into a rel­a­tively smoother so­phis­ti­ca­tion –

Def Con One, Can U Dig It?

– whose mul­ti­tudi­nous pop­cul­ture ref­er­ences evinced the nom­i­na­tive de­ter­min­ism of the band’s name.

Rep­re­sent­ing iden­tity-pol­i­tics man­i­festos for more tribal times, ap­proved lists of comics, films and bands were com­ple­mented by mu­si­cal mag­pie in­stincts (Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Hawk­wind) mashed into mu­tated and scuffed forms.

So­journs into 90s piano-driven house (Cic­col­ina) and darker, heav­ier elec­tron­ica (Dos De­dos Mis Ami­gos) ac­com­pa­nied the group’s slow-build suc­cess, which was abruptly cut short by 1996’s split.

Re-form­ing in 2005, re­cent ma­te­rial re­gur­gi­tates the orig­i­nal tropes with an equal if not su­pe­rior aplomb, though it’s hard not to view it as some­what out of time.

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