THE POP GROUP
“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.
Post-punk originals The Pop Group make their Australian debut this February performing at Adelaide Festival and for headline shows in Sydney & Melbourne.
Formed as teenagers in 1977, The Pop Group fused black funk, free jazz, dub, political protest and punk rock energy into a heady cocktail neatly coined as post-punk or in the bands own words “end-of-the-world-music”. Their debut album Y produced by dub-reggae legend Denis Bovell and featuring the the classics ‘She is Beyond Good & Evil’ and ‘We Are Time’ is rightly considered a masterpiece and proved massively influential, not the least on Nick Cave and the early work of The Birthday Party.
The anthemic ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ would follow along with 2nd album For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder and early works compilation We Are Time, before, in 1980, the band would implode – such intensity not meant to last.
“The Pop Group…blazed a trail that few, if any, have had the imagination or the bravado to follow.” – The Guardian (UK)
In the years that followed the respective members went on their own respective career paths: singer Mark Stewart with his band The Mafia embarked on a lengthy solo career producing further ground breaking work for Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound label and Mute records, as he would with drummer Bruce Smith in the New Age Steppers. Smith would remain constantly active joining The Slits for their second album Return Of The Giant Slits before reconvening with guitarist Gareth Sager (and Neneh Cherry) in creating the legendary Rip Rig and Panic. Most recently Smith has become a permanent member of John Lydon’s Public Image Limited.
In 2010 though, thirty years after their demise, the call went out and The Pop Group found themselves reforming for the All Tomorrows Parties series of festivals followed by Primavera, Summer Sonic, Off, and Celtic Connections. Then, earlier this year the band announced a reissue campaign that included the first ever digital release for We Are Time and a new compilation, Cabinet Of Curiosities plus the band’s first ever UK headline tour since 1980.
It’s been more than 30 years since The Pop Group last played in Glasgow, but they were worth the wait. We Are All Prostitutes’ harsh, abrasive funk made for the best opening ever, while the Thief of Fire’s fusion of dub, post-punk racket and No Wave skronk was topped by Mark Stewart’s righteous fury. The gig of the year crown might be taken already. Unbelievable. 5/5 Daily Record.
In 2015 The Pop Group will finally make it to Australia. Mark Stewart, Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith are joined by bassist Dan Catsis for shows you cannot miss. Tickets for Sydney and Melbourne are on sale October 20th. Adelaide Festival is on sale now.
Cabinet Of Curiosities and We Are Time are both released October 24th via Shock.