Boomkat Product Review:
Legendary dub master Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell MBE does The Pop Group a dead solid version of their seminal ’79 side, ‘Y’ gutting and rendering their wiry post-punk in tightly rude but rambunctious form
Chasing up the band’s live rendition of 2020, the original 9 tracks appear here filleted for funk, with gristle tossed in the bin and Bovell effectively puppeteering their much younger limbs with specialist animist tekkers. In a proper livication, not dedication, to the band’s mutant avant dub-punk styles, Bovell bring out the studio duppies to play, finding and pronouncing the space in between the grooves in a way that totally reenergises his original work on the record while marking distance travelled from the 1979 studio sessions.
At its maddest on the likes of his GRM-style rendering of ‘Savage Sea’, the whole thing feels only just about tethered to reality, with no two bars left wanting for kinetic, corkscrewing details as Bovell’s deft hands flash across the desk. From the needlepoint step and razor cut parries of ‘Thief Of Dreams’ to the recoiling echo chamber abstraction and reggae disco thrum of ‘3:38’ this is no cursory “in dub” session, but a systemic overhaul of the album’s bones, muscle and sinew, with vocals like a possessed presence, dissected into shrieks, yelps that cut thru the smoke.
Expert-level dub punk business.