Chronicles of an age
Free Public Service Broadcasting concert in Valencia
By Barry Wright PUBLIC Service Broadcasting (PSB) is the corduroyclad brainchild of Londonbased J. Willgoose, Esq. who, along with drumming companion Wrigglesworth and multiinstrumentalist J.F. Abraham, is on a quest to inform, educate and entertain audiences around the globe. PSB’s uniquely spellbinding live audiovisual transmissions see them weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics as they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future beaming our past back at us through vintage television sets and state of the art modern video projection devices.
The Londonbased group started out with just Willgoose, who as a solo performer made his public debut at The Selkirk pub in Tooting, London, in August 2009.
Shortly after that the EP, One was released.
After teaming up with Wrigglesworth, who took the drum stool the duo played its first festival performance at the oneoff Aestival charity event in Suffolk in September 2010.
Soon after this, work began on the second EP, The War Room, which was eventually released in 2012. It was dedicated to Willgoose’s greatuncle George, who died at the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, aged 26.
For the EP they were given exclusive access to the British Film Institute’s archives. So when the listener hears a broadcaster stating: “Now it's eight o'clock. Jerry's a little bit late tonight. The dusk is deepening. Soon the nightly battle of London will be on. This has been a quiet day for us, but it won’t be a quiet night,” before adding: “These are not Hollywood sound effects, this is the music they play every night in London: the symphony of war,” it must be remembered that these poetic observations are from the period.
So these soundbites set to a backdrop of synthpop, krautrock and dance beats are moments of living history that, in the context of The War Room, not only bring the era alive to the modern listener, but also remind of the futility of conflict.
PSB followed this up in 2013 with the full length album Inform Educate – Entertain, which covers themes such as the first ascent of Everest, Thomas Woodrooffe’s drunken live 1937 radio commentary of the Spithead Review, where he constantly referred to the fleet as being ‘lit up like fairy lights’, and the night mail train service
Once again these poignant moments in the history of the UK are delivered in an infectiously danceable way.
Next up came the duo’s most popular release, The Race for Space (2015), which tells the story for of the American and Soviet space race from 19571972.
The album was launched with two concerts at the National Space Centre in Leicester on February 2627 of that year.
The Race for Space can be considered PSB’s breakthrough release and peaked at number 11 in the UK album charts.
Off the back of the album PSB toured the UK extensively, and climaxed with their biggest headline show to date, a sold out night at the O2 Academy in Brixton.
This concert can be heard on 2016’s Live at Brixton.
The band’s latest full length release, Every Valley, (2017) takes listeners on a ‘journey down the mineshafts of the South Wales valleys, with the stories found there a black mirror to the plight of workers everywhere’.
Making a comparison between the mining heyday and now, PSB state: “Although Every Valley is the story of one industry in a region and time far from ours, the tales of a disenfranchised working class in this age of turmoil could not be more relevant.”
J. Willgoose, Esq hopes the story is ‘applicable to indus . tries all over the western world and possibly beyond, in the way that the Industrial Revolution generated these communities that were so dependent on one particular industry, and what happens to that community when you remove that industry from it, and where that leaves us now’.
In October of this year PSB released the four track EP, White Star Liner, which uses archive material to give a chronological story of the Titanic.
Once again the release is business as usual, with the band using invaluable period dialogue to bring the story to life.
At this stage in their career PSB are doing nothing new, the themes and the backing music portray an eerie overall image and feeling of the disaster.
Whether the albums merit repeat plays on a regular basis is a thing for the individual, but live PSB are right on the money.
All of their releases are available to stream on Spotify, and they have a large YouTube presence.
If you like what you see and hear then get along to the Marina Beach Club in Valencia on December 1, where they are giving a free concert.