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The Pop Group: Citizen Zombie

Brit avant-punk legends return to rip it up and start again.

Fronted by the force of nature that is Mark Stewart, Bristol’s recently reactivated post-punk radicals the Pop Group began performing live again in 2010, but this is their first album in 35 years.

The Pop Group always subverted formulaic conformity, so it’s heartening to report that Citizen Zombie is not just a nostalgic recycling of their sinewy, polemical, barbed-wire punk-funk sound.

Shot through with dub-jazz dynamics and scouring industrial sonics, these songs are fuller and denser, but as angry and experimental as ever. The snarling, shuddering title track and the metal-bashing groove-attack of The Immaculate Deception nod to fellow travellers PiL and Primal Scream, while the deceptively jaunty dystopian calypso Mad Truth and the twisted slap-bass funk of S.o.p.h.i.a are reminders that this is propulsive party music at heart.

Marred only slightly by a couple of scrappy tunes, the album feels like a life-affirming reminder of anarchist Emma Goldman’s celebrated maxim that the only worthwhile revolution is one you can dance to./o:p

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.