Metal Box – Public Image Limited (1979)


“Beautiful, strange, spontaneous, frightening, skeletal, spacious, arid and elegiac: Metal Box by Public Image Limited is made up of the bleached white bones of art rock, disco and reggae, reassembled into a gorgeous noise that defies easy description. It is also one of the best albums of all time. In the era of Radiohead, when any lantern-jawed, hash-hazed Brit dropping a marble on a piano string with a lot of reverb on it gets called a genius, let’s honor a record that is an Everest in effective, natural-flowing art rock. Metal Box is, perhaps, Post-Punk’s signal achievement, its Pet Sounds. (Note: Metal Box, PiL’s second full-length album, was originally released in late November 1979 on three 12” 45 rpm records packaged, beautifully but inconveniently, in a film canister; not long afterwards, the same music was put out, far more conveniently, as a double LP called Second Edition. For the sake of simplicity, throughout this article we will be referring to the dual-titled release by it’s ‘first’ name, Metal Box.) …”
How Public Image Ltd Exploded the Possibilities of Music With ‘Metal Box’ (Video)
W – Metal Box
Pitchfork
The Quietus
Genius
YouTube: Metal Box Full LP
Metal 1.1 Albatross 10:32 Metal 1.2 Memories 5:05 Swan Lake 4:19 Metal 1.3 Poptones 7:45 Careering 4:32 Metal 1.4 No Birds 4:43 Graveyard 3:07 Metal 1.5 The Suit 3:29 Bad Baby 4:30 Metal 1.6 Socialist/Chant/Radio 4 12:31
YouTube: Peel Session 1979 1. Poptones (0:07) 2. Careering (4:39) 3. Chant (12:12)

Public Image Limited – Memories / Another (1979)


“… A series of staged wedding photos show John Lydon posed in tie, trench coat and moustache with (I believe) his real wife Nora by his side as ominous fingers appear from above, poised to either peruse this page of a altogether grim and cobwebbed photo album or moments away from tearing them apart and discarding them forever. And just as the music of Public Image Limited constantly threatens to split off from itself in a rage, it also manages to holds itself together by a thin yet unbreakable thread of underscoring, bloodline bass lines and rhythm. And because of this near-magnetic force field, all instruments hold together in a simple, abrasive and ever-corroding atmosphere where no matter how much of the music falls away (or off the sonic map altogether), the bonds of the simple, forcefully played rhythms yoke all elements unswervingly together under conditions of severe austerity. ‘Memories’ is altered from its original setting on ‘Metal Box’: not only in the manner of its extended length and additional Leslie-amplified guitar line from Keith Levene’s barbed wire straddling guitar parts, but the mix is also significantly different: the album version sees Lydon’s vocals crammed behind the massive backing track, only surfacing noticeably for a middle stanza or two (most noticeably on the ‘I could be wrong / It could be hate’ passage) but here on the single his hair-on-fire vocals are thrown up so high in the mix, it even blares over the metallic cog constructions of the over-phased hi-hat and drums. The dub pendulum ballast of Jah Wobble’s bass, while not always present, is so hypnotically strong it’s not readily apparent when it vanishes from time to time in the mix. …”
Head Heritage
W – “Memories”
Genius (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Memories 7″ (Mix), Another 7″ (B-side of Memories)