on 9 July 2002
PWEI's Cure for Sanity was a strange animal. It split the fans as the Poppies went headlong after the hip-hop flavours that had been part of their sound since Box Frenzy (1987). Many moaned that they were just pop culture whores jumping someone else's train. The critics tended to agree, the press as a whole became indifferent.
YES - they were pop tarts and if that rankled some then they were missing the point. "Dance of the Mad B45t4rd5" was one of those rare classics that made you drive too fast. "Nightmare at 20,000ft" has a fantastic electronic bassline that still sounds fantastic now. "1000x No!" , "92degreesF" and even the much maligned "XYandZee" still sound superb in the twenty-first century (where the Poppies were all along). If you were one of the boo-boys, then shame on you - you're the loser.
on 21 November 2011
PWEI's last great album finally got the reissue treatment it deserved. A proper remaster, tidying up the sound from the original release. As side 2 was still being recorded whilst side 1 was being mastered, it's fair to say that the original mastering wasn't great and that it was a bit quiet. This has been fixed, happily.
Now, if you are buying a PWEI remaster in 2011, I figure that you've heard the original album..if not.. it contains chart bothering cheesy hit X Y & Zee, classic track Dance Of The Mad, 92F, Italo-house football classic Touched by the hand of Cicciolina amongst many other definitive PWEI tunes and is one of the most cohesive, wildly diverse records I know. Sadly, that bit will only make sense if you own the record already. Anyway, when you are looking at buying albums you already own, you look for added value from the original release. What have we got here?
1. Heaps of extra tracks; remixes of the singles and more excitingly for me, unreleased tracks from the archives. Good news here is that some of these should have been released; 2 different versions of 'Dance of the mad and bad' are excellent; filled with different samples and odd snatches of lyric. Rock of Ages is a hyped up, amped up City Zen Radio 1990/2000 Fm. It benefits from having some massive drum samples and not being recorded in a train station. Good if dated remixes all over both discs and I'm thrilled with the inclusion of another one of the Poppies crappy covers - Rockahula Baby, by Elvis, gets fed through the PWEI blender and spat out as a disrespectful mess. For many, this would be a bad thing. For me, it works very well, albeit this wouldn't be the first PWEI track I'd play someone.
2. Entertaining liner notes; a potted history of this era of the band plus fresh notes from band member Adam Mole that really do evoke quite what it was to be a Poppie.
3. Exceptional customer service. I have had a bit of trouble with the last track on the 2nd CD. I have returned 2 copies to Amazon and am due to return my copy to Cherry Red. Everyone has been very good so far!
So, you should buy this. If you own one of the earliest CD's, you need this as it finally sounds like it should. If you own one of the 2nd generation CD's with X Y & Zee remixes and the radio edit of Dance of the Mad, you need this for the mastering and the 'proper' version of Dance of the Mad. If you don't have a copy in any way, shape or form, you've already disgraced yourself and need to redeem yourself through purchase. I mean, I like Kate Bush as much as the next grown up, but I'll be listening to this far more in the next couple of months than I will Fifty Words for Snow. Especially as Cure for Sanity is an Elton John free zone..
This album came out while I was at university and I originally had a recording off someone and then bought the CD. I loved the artwork and the whole vibe of the album which was a lot more dance orientated than their previous album. All the songs seem to fit together nicely in a kind of science fiction theme.
“The Incredible P.W.E.I. vs The Moral Majority” features the ramblings of a TV evangelist which were also used by Manchester indie band James on their track “Gold Mother” and serves as a great lead in to “Dance of the Mad…”
“Dance of the Mad Bastards” presents the ultimate ultrasonic Technicolor climax for all party people and probably the best rap The Poppies have ever delivered. The aceed synth noises, monk like vocals and banging percussion are designed to make even the most cynical listener start tapping their foot. The tune and the rap have a relentless momentum.
“88 Seconds… & Still Counting” could probably be considered to be PWEI’s first anti-racist song way before they even thought of “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” referring as it does to the Klan and calling for the church of racial purity to be nuked. In comparison to the previous track it seems a little slow, but it helps you get ready for the very laid back vibes of the next track.
“X Y & Zee (Electric Sunshine Style)” uses samples from Barry White, Buffalo Springfield, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Althea & Donna and Steppenwolf in this sci-fi tale advertising the merits of listening to intergalactic punk rock hip hop on the transmissions of a sub-space station while basking in the last rays of civilisation as we know it. It also makes the first reference to ‘PWEIzation’ as a concept.
“City Zen Radio 1990/2000 FM” contains a little snippet of politics in the lyric ‘No ID cards! No poll tax!’ and conjures up images of the dystopian future if we let these two things happen and acts as a short lead in to “Dr. Nightmare’s Medication Time” which piles in a load of samples (most notably from the Beastie Boys “Shake Your Rump”) and a little bit of speech from the imaginary DJ of the imaginary radio station broadcasting live from planet Earth all adding to the sci-fi vibe which is then suspended for a bit of Italia 90 madness.
“Touched by the Hand of Cicciolina (edited highlights)” was an unofficial World Cup song and supported Ilona Staller a.k.a. Cicciolina, the Hungarian-born Italian porn star, politician and sometime singer. Instrumental portions of the music were used time and again for goal highlights on TV. The track features drums from “Sound and Vision” by Bowie and Funkadelic again as well as all sorts of crazy samples.
“1000x NO!” I love the rap on this track for its bizzareness but unlike “Dance of the Mad Bastards” I can’t even attempt to do it word for word. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about but I like it.
I love the squeaky noises and the use of stereo on “Psychosexual” and once I’ve heard this track I always find myself singing it later in the day. Reminds me a bit of the film The Man Who Fell to Earth.
“Axe of Men” was apparently released as a single the same time as “X Y & Zee” and it bombed. Again really weird lyrics to which I really should pay more attention.
“Another Man’s Rhubarb” comes from the classic line from the original Batman film starring Jack Nicholson as the Joker. The song is a nice song about being good to each other. As they say in Bill & Ted ‘be excellent to each other’ dudes and never rub another man’s rhubarb. Which if you don’t know means don’t interfere with someone else’s business and more specifically don’t try and steal their girlfriend.
“Medicine Man Speak with Forked Tongue” is a little intro to “Nightmare at 20,000ft” featuring a metronome and the voice of a hypnotists telling the listener that they can and will fly without fear. “Nightmare” is a great rap about being scared of flying and I love the sample of the guy saying ‘if I ever get my hands on the…’ The track is a triumph of multi-tracked beats and samples with a great rolling bass line.
“Very Metal Noise Pollution” is another short one with a funny rap and repeats another theme that the Poppies were into. I recall one album (at least) on which the Designers Republic had put – ‘caution: this record contains high levels of very metal noise pollution’.
“92°F” refers to the temperature at which most murders are committed. The original track has the usual PWEI vocals with a little help from Sylvia Teller (who used to be a backing singer for Boney M) every now and again. “92°F (The 3rd Degree)” has a much more techno vibe and has Teller’s vocals all the way through and as a result is a much stronger contender for track of the album, but I’m plumping for “Dance of the Mad Bastards”.
“Lived in Splendour: Died in Chaos” is another track in which Bladerunner pops up – this time samples from the soundtrack by Vangelis are used. The song is about those eternal themes desires, drink, drugs and death and as catchy as it is it seems to belong on the previous album. “The Beat That Refused To Die” should really be called “The Most Pointless Track Ever Made by the Incredible PWEI”. Every time I listen to it it’s a minute and half of my life I’ll never get back.
on 16 January 2011
Having had the orginal on pre-recorded tape, I just wanted to have it on CD and ipod, so bought it again. On the whole it's one of PWEI's better albums with a few excellent tracks, 'Dance of the Mad' being my favouirite. Just don't know why they have put alternate versions of the original tracks for 'X, Y and Zee' and '92F' within the album and left the orginals to the end (surely it should be the other way around?) Will have to re-arrange on my ipod but happy to have it back available to me again.
on 4 December 2011
Excellent Remaster of an excellent album, Really well done, Extra layers I've not heard before jump out on every track. Worth it just for the sleeve notes, but you get a whole extra cd as well, chock full of extra tracks and mixes.