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Thirty-five years after their last studio album, 1980’s For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? (Y/Rough Trade), Bristol’s The Pop Group return with a new album that is as challenging as their most revered work.
As to be expected, the initial journey through Citizen Zombie leaves the listener confused, asking “Is it any good? Do I like this?” Subsequent spins, however, reveal the multiple layers of genius at work. This is definitely the same Pop Group of old, smashing genres together like atoms in the Large Hadron Collider, only they now have an additional three-and-a-half decades to draw from. Vocalist Mark Stewart’s experience as a dub artist particularly shines, each song baring just the slightest touch of that Jamaican psychedelia, while his voice remains a unique warbling of beat-ish diatribes. It’s a mind-blowing collage of avant-garde ideas, reggae, soul, post-punk, glitter, electronica and Situationist aesthetics for the technological age that builds on their original explorations without revisionism.
Somehow, The Pop Group have rebuilt their legacy without sounding like a bunch of old farts trying to remain relevant. They’re telling us all how it should be be done while doing it even better. Here’s to the next album, and the one after…
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