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Flashback Review: Pop Will Eat Itself

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Way before Kid Rock circa 1986, a group of lunatics from Stourbridge, United Kingdom thought they would combine rap music, hard-edged alternative rock and noticeable British accents. Originally they were called Wild and Wondering, but changed their name to the more eccentric Pop Will Eat Itself. After being picked up by RCA the album This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This! was released in 1989 and in my opinion, a ground breaking new sound was born. The band gave the new genre it’s own name, “Grebo”.

Unfortunately, not many people caught on. The reason is unclear. Maybe it was poor marketing or maybe the world wasn’t ready. Personally, I think grunge stole the spotlight before PWEI could really take root. If you haven’t heard of PWEI my hope is that you will listen. If you fancy yourself a music historian you need to hear the album if only to hear some of they very first melding of Rock and Rap music. The combination of rapping, singing, turntable scratching, samples, drum machines and big rock guitar / bass may drive you to smash things and show your pimp hand all at the same time.

This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This!
Listen to the album in full for free here.

The band’s major label release had the critics going crazy trying to determine the significance. Grebo had arrived in Britain, but could it be exported?
This is the Day… which was produced by Flood is a big, in your face landscape of sonic lunacy. Think of the Beastie Boys joining Faith No More then add a dash of mind altering drugs and whacked samples.
Def. Con. One an infectious track about Armageddon, Can U Dig It? an ego trip supported by huge beats and metal riffs, and Not Now James, We’re Busy, a hilarious take on a James Brown run in with the police, complete with samples, are three standout tracks. The whole album is a collage of sound. Samples from every corner of the earth emerge throughout. It’s so over the top it’s almost a caricature of itself, but it works to fantastic effect.
The only thing I cannot understand about this album is why it is so underrated / unknown!

As the record plays it will give you only small breaths of air to recover from the intensity it contains. It’s almost non-stop explosions of sound. It wins you over not by creative suggestion, but by multiple kicks to the head. At the time of This is the Day…, a huge section of America was condemning the use of samples as stealing for the untalented. The Poppies shoved it right down our throats and proved that Rock and Rap can kick teeth in. If we had only listened we may have been passed this damn Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock phase by now.

This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This! is a must have album is you enjoy:

-The Beastie Boys
-Music history
-Run DMC
-Rappers with British accents

-Crystal Meth
-Rap Rock

Track Listing:

1. PWEI Is a Four Letter Word – 1:12
2. Preaching to the Perverted – 4:25
3. Wise Up! Sucker – 3:16
4. Sixteen Different Flavours of Hell – 1:23
5. Inject Me – 3:51
6. Can U Dig It? (Paince) – 4:31
7. The Fuses Have Been Lit – 4:02
8. Poison to the Mind – :57
9. Def. Con. One – 3:59
10. Radio P.W.E.I. – 3:37
11. Shortwave Transmission on ‘Up to the… – 1:01
12. Satellite Ecstatica – 3:33
13. Not Now James, We’re Busy… – 3:08
14. Wake Up! Time to Die… – 6:41
15. Wise Up! Sucker [Youth Mix] – 5:44

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About Robert of the Radish

  • Awesome flashback. You’re right: this album freaking rules.

  • Eric Olsen

    excellent Robert, great memories. My fave PWEI is even farther back, the first one, with “There’s No Love Between Us Anymore”

  • I Vince Elgey, was with the poppies the day the music died, far from singing bye bye etc etc etc. We were saddened by the loss of the great driving force in UK pop that was Bucks Fizz. Vince they said, say something wize about this tragic elgey event. Being Vince Elgey, I held it together and sand a beautiful eulogy to the departed songsmiths that lit the fuse that finally became Pop Will Eat itself. I would like to thank all my Vince Elgey Bucks Fizz Following Pop Eating Popsters for helping me Vince Elgey get over this tragic loss. Also if anyone knows where Jay Aston lives or where the rubbish van that collects her rubbish goes to when it is full, that would be most Elgey appreciated.