Pop Will Eat Itself
Def Comms 86-18
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.