CD Review


CD Review: Public Image Ltd.

Annie Zaleski

The Details

This is PiL

When you are John Lydon—a surly character who is both an original punk figurehead (Sex Pistols) and a post-punk malcontent (Public Image Ltd.)—your work is held to a high standard. That’s been true even as Lydon’s musical influence has slowly deteriorated since the 1980s, when PiL enjoyed success with alt-rock songs such as “Rise” and “Disappointed.”

This Is PiL, the band’s first album in 20 years, will do nothing to stop this slide into irrelevance. Despite plenty of interesting instrumentation—“Out of the Woods” features a nice doom-disco beat and some electrocuted keyboards, while the death-pogo “Deeper Water” revisits the gothic guitar slashes of PiL’s earliest work—the record is low on energy and focus. Meandering ramblings (the spoken-word rant “The Room I Am In”), a few forays into reggae/ska (Lydon’s misguided, faux-Jamaican accent on “Reggie Song”) and plenty of cranky-old-man yelping only make This Is PiL a chore to get through. –


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