“A cinematic heretic”: New album slated to appear at the end of this month.
By Blurt Staff
Not long ago word arrived that the legendary UK postpunk outfit the Pop Group has a new album, Honeymoon On Mars, cut earlier this year with dub legend Dennis Bovell and Bomb Squad member Hank Shocklee, and due on their Freaks R Us label on October 28. First single “Zipperface” got a healthy number of spins throughout the interwebs—including right here at BLURT—and now there’s a video to go with it that we are honored to unveil today:
The video was directed by Max Kelan Pearce, who is known for his use of defunct technology and his low-res, degraded style. Kelan’s experiments with VHS players, camcorders and digital manipulation have made him a leading video artist within the contemporary Bristol underground. As well as producing backdrops for New York dubstep institution Reconstrvct, Kelan has collaborated with a wide variety of artists in recent years (Hodge, Karen Gwyer, Creta Kano, Seekers International) and is best known for his affiliation with Bristol’s Young Echo collective, working on projects for the likes of Asda, Giant Swan, Jabu and O$VMV$M.
Mirroring the velocity and tension of “Zipperface,” as well as its themes of blackmail and thought control, Kelan has visualized a grotesque mindtrip that subverts the mundane with infestation, knife play and a psychedelic onslaught of superimposition and tape damage.
Mark Stewart from the band describes the project as “an alien encounter scratch video creates a temporary autonomous zone, an illegal Bristol broadcast from St. Paul’s pirate TV channel. Max is a cinematic heretic.”
So we assume that if you are reading this you already have a healthy appreciation for all things Pop Group—you can bring yourself up to speed via this 2014 review of their Cabinet of Curiosities/We Are Time archival release. Contributor Michael Toland explained, of the late ‘70s postpunk legends, “An almost textbook example of that nebulous genre known as postpunk, the Bristol quintet deftly combined nervous funk with clanging punk rock and performed it with a loose sensibility that has as much in common with free jazz as rock & roll. Jagged and dissonant but with enough respect for tune to be just this side of accessible, fiercely political but still in thrall to the joy of simply making music.”
More recently, the group returned in 2015 with Citizen Zombie, and in a review of it Toland again sang the group’s praises, writing, “It goes without saying that Citizen Zombie won’t sound exactly like the influential postpunk band did in its late 70s glory – too much time has passed for that. Yet in its own way, the LP picks up where the Group left off – like the Clash’s Combat Rock, it represents a musical evolution while keeping the same spirit.”