Public Image Ltd are giving it a go with a new studio record, due out this summer.
Back in 1980, the defunct Sex Pistols released a compilation called “Flogging a Dead Horse.” A tongue-in-check title, it was meant to be the last word on the band, collecting all the group’s singles and B-sides into a neatly configured package. Unfortunately, in a band fronted by John Lydon, the phrase “last word” has little bearing.
In the immediate aftermath of the Sex Pistols original split, Lydon formed Public Image Ltd, a band that was nowhere near as accessible as the punk legends, but far more reaching in terms of influence — let’s face it, there were plenty of other punk bands in 1977; Nothing sounded like PiL.
Soon however, the lineup that created “Public Image” and “Metal Box” fell apart and Lydon would go on with a revolving door of temporary members, sometimes hitting pay dirt with singles like “This is Not a Love Song,” and the immortal “Rise,” but mostly just falling into the trappings of whatever current sound was trending at the time, whether on the gated reverb pop/rock heard on “9,” or the sloppy hard rock of “That What is Not.”
After many shameless, cash grab Sex Pistols reunions, Lydon has taken a stab at using his still less popular PiL label and taking it on the road to perform “Rise” to audiences that don’t know any better over the past three years. Now, he and his current lineup have taken the effort to actually put together a set of songs for the first PiL record in 20 years.
“One Drop” is the first song released off the forthcoming album, and well, it sounds like a Public Image Ltd song. The steady beat is there, the jangly vamp, the wobbly bassline. It could potentially pass for something off “This is What You Want…This is What You Get,” but then there’s Lydon. He’s still the same old wailing anti-preacher, but man does he sound old. His voice struggles to hit his warbly outcries, and he’s downright cringeworthy when he sings, “We are the ageless, we are teenagers, we are the focus out of the hopeless!” Yikes.
However, as mentioned, there are attributes that fit the band’s formula to the T, and a listen may inspire you to go on a post-punk kick today, so do give it a spin.
There’s no word yet on a title or release date but “One Drop” will be available on a 7″ for Record Store Day this year.
Public Image Ltd. – “One Drop”