Sounds, July 1989
© 1989 Sounds
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
This got such breathtakingly short shrift from the Cameron lad in his single's column last week (" a disco remix" by Lord Harry!) that I decided to try put the Lydonphile's viewpoint this time round. Nothing special, just a "this is not a disco song" sort of one-liner.
The thing was, as soon as it's extended groove was located by my stylus, it commenced to roar like a lonesome tiger, howling its strange, paranoid story as though it were quite simply saying goodbye to the big city, and hello to a terrible madness. And it just had to be made single of the week, so heavy is it's unshakeable sense of tribal danger, so perfect it's vibe of underground menace. Besides it's got a bitch of a guitar riff.
It's first minute recalls the Doors' 'Horse Latitudes' (another panic-stricken battle between man and beast), with a cacophony of gunfire, war cries and hysterical horse shriek's. "Thank you for making me a human being" a distended voice almost weeps. Lydon can be heard ululating in the distance, way beneath Bruce Smith's battering drums.
John McGeoch's guitar riff takes up the charge, his most thrilling display of havoc since Magazine's immortal 'The Light Shines Out of Me'. Lydon's lyric is downright peculiar ("Fields they have eyes / Woods they have ears"). "This is my land", he snarls in a pause.
On the cover (one of those computer patchwork facial studies) his eyes, which are basically two black crescents amid a mess of gruesome colour, burn out. What was that phrase from long ago? "We mean it maaan!"
PIL have never sounded so much like a band, and Lydon has never sussed out how cannily a dance groove without giving away one iota of venom or a smidgen of spleen.
This is vicious, compelling and absolutely brilliant. Hear it yesterday.
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