NME, November 13th, 1993

© 1993 NME

Leftfield Lydon:
Open Up

(Hard Hands)


by Lestyn George

Punk is most definitely not dead. It's positively flourishing. And we're not talking rubbish Guns N' Roses covers albums either. Witness the work of Alex Patterson, Youth, Secret Knowledge's Kris Needs, The Drum Club and leftfield over the last 18 months. Even former members of Discharge are making techno records!

Easy then, to label this enclave of artisans as a bunch of old men finding refuge behind the anonymity of a Stussy ski hat, but there can be little doubt that in the past year they've changed the face of alternative music – real indie-music that is, not your credibility-seeking major label offshoot. Whether it's the growing success of The Orb or the phenomenal achievements of the Megadog Midi-Circus collective, Leftfield have played their part with a series of immaculately crafted singles on Guerilla and their own Hard Hands label, but "Open Up" is their finest moment yet.

The vocal version charges along with waves of Eastern sounds, jarring industrial bleeps and the mother of all basslines, while the dub version is a dark beast, crisp percussion competing for space with trance-inducing synth patterns. Lydon is at his barking best and the true mark of its greatness is that, for all his past history, this sounds as fresh as if he'd been dragged off the street and shown a microphone for the very first time. "Bigger than God!" - as he so rightly hollers.


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