Friday, 23 April 2021

Pop Will Eat Itself "This Is The Day..." (1989)


This album may just go down as one of the most intriguing, genre crossover and retroactively curious records to discover at a time where the historical musical tapestry rarely surprises. This Is The Day... is a defining sophomore album by British act Pop Will Eat Itself, a band fueled by a passionate energy for music alternative to the mainstream. Despite being floored by its hallmarks, the now dated era sound of its fainter stints has me less indulged by its waves of nostalgia emanating from a moment in time prior to my favorite 90s sounds. Essentially, this would of been my world had I discovered it earlier in my youth. Hearing it now, its still a marvel to behold and enjoy.

Kicking off with PWEI Is A Four Letter Word, a defining influence is made known with its bold snippets of Chuck D & Flavor Flav of Public Enemy. The sampling culture of then still emerging Hip Hop sound runs rampant as defiant statements are drawn around the concept of "stealing" music in this sampling form. These guys stand on the cutting edge of the times, bringing Rap and Rock together with Heavy Metal and Punk Rock guitars among its weaving web of Electronic, Pop and even Disco in brief bursts. It has the spirit of Anthrax's inclusion on the crossover classic Bring The Noise. Its a wild punchy sound, bold and hard hitting as its elements stack together crudely through the riotous noise blaring from DJ Winston's eclectic sample choices.

Individually the songs tend to feel structured in a Pop format with chirpy hooks and a ton of cultural inclusion from its embracing sampling and referencing lyrics. The experience is like a youthful time machine, references to Terminator, Robo Cop and even Mc Donalds ground itself in the era. Notably, this is where its weak points gleam. Its silly refrain "Gimme Me Big Mack, Gimme Fries To Go" rapped alongside the classic Funky Town melody is both gaudy, geeky yet admittedly fun. Its grown on me, the awkward leaning arrangements do have musical charm at its inspirational core. My other "gripe" were the crass English accents, a little stiff and engineered when rapping but giving it some Merit, its the late eighties style, simple but effective.

Wrapped around its bold affront, the musicianship from Mole, Mansell, Crabb & March is remarkable, a keen negotiation fostering the spaces between its sampling indulgences with timely riffs, melodies and grooves to lay a firm foundation for the madness. Its an organic unraveling textile sound, morphing into songs as samples and programs drums invade the percussion, bass, guitars and beyond. The rhythm section was a personal pleasure, reflecting the tones of Alternative Metal, Industrial and Post-Punk to remind me fondly of the coming shift in sound the 90s would bring.

As said in the opening, its a marvel, full of mentions to perk your ears, Can U Dig It? is a lovable spew of references built around the classic line from The Warriors movie, sampled over and over. I set out to write a more critical review as its gaudy moments and rough edges had been a focus in casual listening, but as it happens on occasion, diving in deep and getting the thoughts out really made me appreciate this one more. Its quite iconic to me how it slips in between a lot of great music I adore with a "here first" affirmation. It will take time to digest deeply. One thing is sure, I am not done with it yet! Ill be spinning This Is The Day... for years to come, I can feel it in my bones!

Rating: 8/10