“It’s one of those moments when the cogs of your mind shift and your life is going to irreversibly change forever” - Nick Cave on hearing The Pop Group for the first time.
The Pop Group, one of the most wildly innovative and barrier-shattering bands to emerge from the late ’70s post-punk era, have announced more details of their upcoming releases.
Spearheading the first wave of releases are We Are Time, a re-issue of their classic 1980 album, re-mastered from the original tapes and Cabinet of Curiosities a brand new nine-track compilation including single ‘Where There’s A Will’, unheard original Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) produced version of “She Is Beyond Good And Evil”, and previously unreleased songs such as ‘Abstract Heart’ and ‘Karen’s Car’, plus other rarities.
Both are set for release on 20th October on the new Freaks Are Us label. The albums will be available on all formats individually and also packaged together as a limited CD box set accompanied by memorabilia and an extensive 36 page booklet.
The band has also teamed up with Pledge Music for a campaign offering fans exclusive and very limited memorabilia via the band’s facebook & twitter, with a share of any surplus revenue going to CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade).
We Are Time, named after one of their most infamous onslaughts was originally released on vinyl in 1980, and will be available on CD and digital for the first time. Of the early live and studio recordings that comprise We Are Time, frontman Mark Stewart says “The Pop Group was mutating so fast right from the start that it was crucial to document those first experiments with this compilation. We Are Time is really ‘the’ teenage Pop Group album. It’s full of defiance and the material demonstrates the band's staunch independence and our really early DIY ethic before the studio became another instrument.”
Cabinet Of Curiosities the nine-track compilation kicks off with the fractured future-funk single “Where There’s A Will,” originally released as a double A-side shared with The Slits in 1980, and described by Sager as “The group’s best attempt to mix a message with a groove plus some real free playing. If you are really unhinged you may be able to dance to this.” Next up is the unheard, original Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) produced version of “She Is Beyond Good And Evil,” probably the band’s most infamous song (covered by St Vincent on the Jimmy Fallon show and throughout her Strange Mercy tour).
Cabinet Of Curiosities continues with BBC John Peel session tracks “We Are Time” and “Words Disobey Me,” and rounds up previously unreleased songs, “Abstract Heart” and “Karen’s Car,” and other alternative versions. Of “Karen’s Car,” recorded in Finland, Sager recalls “appropriately our final stand with just Stewart, Sager, Smith and Waddington left. This is the sound of paranoia, groove and noise at its height. There was nowhere left to go”. Mark Stewart describes Cabinet Of Curiosities as being of similar status to a lost Pop Group album.
Their original missives, which Mark Stewart describes as “an index of possibilities”, still explode with an incandescent spirit and energy, which has influenced numerous musicians throughout the years.
A UK tour will kick off on the 20th October ending at London’s Islington Assembly Hall on 26th October.
20-Oct- Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms
21-Oct - Nottingham Bodega Social Club
22-Oct - Manchester Gorilla 2
3-Oct - Bristol Anson Rooms
24-Oct - Leeds Brudenell Social Club
25-Oct - Brighton Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
26-Oct - London Islington Assembly Hall
We Are Time
2. Thief Of Fire
3. Genius Or Lunatic
4. Colour Blind
5. Spanish Inquisition
6. Kiss The Book
7. Amnesty Report
9. Sense Of Purpose
10. We Are Time
Cabinet Of Curiosities
1. Where There’s A Will
2. She Is Beyond Good And Evil
3. Colour Blind
4. Words Disobey Me
5. Don’t Sell Your Dreams
6. We Are Time
7. Abstract Heart
8. Amnesty Report III
9. Karen’s Car