Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Public Sophomore Broadcasting

Will Public Service Broadcasting release a second album? And, if so, what will it contain?

These are questions that I've been pondering recently. I've been listening to last year's Inform-Educate-Entertain album again, and while I maintain that it isn't perfect, it's still an utter barnstormer for the most part.

But how will they follow it up? I suppose they could just do more of the same, but while I wouldn't be unhappy with another album that's exactly like Inform-Educate-Entertain, I would be a little disappointed. We're familiar with PSB's gimmick at this point - it's time for them to take it up a notch.

What I really want (surprise, surprise) is a concept album. None of the songs on their debut were really interrelated - there was one about fashion, one about driving too fast, one about Mount Everest, and so on. It was a thrilling assortment, no doubt about it, but I think album #2 needs to be a little more focused.

Happily, we already know that PSB are capable of a good concept record. The War Room (whose release actually preceded that of Inform-Educate-Entertain) was an EP about war, specifically World War II. The songs, such as Spitfire and Dig for Victory (below), are based around soundbites from the WW2 era, and even though it's only five tracks long, I think it feels a lot more accomplished and cohesive than the full album that followed.

So, a third question: if Public Service Broadcasting were to record a concept album, what should the concept be? I had this discussion with a couple of people on Twitter recently; @neilc79, for example, suggested the Cold War as a potential theme (adding that he'd like to hear some "80s-type samples" to go with it).

Meanwhile, @metaboatchris pointed me in the direction of Elfstedentocht Parts 1&2, the single that PSB recorded for this year's Record Store Day. It's named after Elfstedentocht, a skating tour that frequently takes place in the northern part of the Netherlands. Here's part one, the angrier, more rocked-up side of the RSD single:

What @metaboatchris suggested was an album on which each track represented a different country. Holland would be represented by one of the Elfstedentocht tracks, obviously; Germany could maybe have a track about the Berlin Marathon, and if Kraftwerk promise not to sue, they could even record a Tour de France song for France.

For my part, I don't really mind what the concept is as long as there is one. Even the bread theme that the band joke about in this tweet would be a good idea in my book.

1 comment:

  1. Just seen them at Two Thousand Trees, and their visuals weren't as strong as their own live gig. Incredibly tight sound even in a festival environment though. I agree with the concept album call - they need something to distinguish themselves from becoming a gimic. At their best they use samples in an incredibly insightful way. Hope LP number 2 lives up to the hype!