Public Service Broadcasting release their debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain this week, following the critically acclaimed EP’s Everest and The War Room the first long player from J. Willgoose, Esq. and his drumming companion Wrigglesworth is eagerly anticipated and high on expectation.
Regular readers of a little bit louder will know I’ve been getting excited about Public Service Broadcasting for some time now but for those that are not familiar with the work of PSB let me briefly explain; the inspiration for the concept lies in the archives of the British Film Institutes collection of old public information films, propaganda footage and other quintessentially British excerpts from a bygone time. Not only is this material the inspiration for it also is the concept, with soundbites from said films being used like a giant scrapbook over an eclectic mix of electronica, synths, guitar, banjo and any number of other instruments thrown into the melting pot.
The album opens with a montage of what is to come, fusing together a sample of the clips used in a way that builds your anticipation before launching into Spitfire, using clips from the 1942 aviation film The First Of The Few, and taking you on a magnificent and thrilling ride through the skies over the southern coast of England with electronic beats and guitar rising and falling like a bird gracefully soaring and gliding through the air.
Signal 30 sees a brief venture across the Atlantic to the BFI’s equivalent in the US, using clips from a dangerous driving campaign, set to a driving rhythm which suits the subject matter perfectly and heavy guitars roaring like a muscle car on a joyride. Night Mail changes tact with a laid back melodic breakbeat vide and wonderfully hypnotic piano, the ultra modern minimal techno in stark contrast to the vintage narration of the mail train making its way through the country, but somehow sounding right.
The Now Generation gives us fashion advice and future predictions soundtracked by Kraftwork style 80’s synths and, possible with the clue in the title, a nod to Prince. Lit Up is a more ambient affair that uses the nostalgic monologue of Thomas Woodrooffe’s account of a naval inspection in 1937 to create a dreamy atmosphere that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. Everest is an inspiring and uplifting piece of music using the 1953 film ‘The Conquest of Everest’ which documents Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing’s first successful ascent of the mountain. Late Night Final brings the album to a close with the dour lines ‘we can’t go on, it’s the end this time’ with a funeral procession feel to it, morbid horns and melancholy sax that creates a brooding atmosphere, hopefully only signaling the end of the album and not the end to this magnificent project.
The album sets out to Inform, Educate and Entertain, whilst I would say this is to be taken slightly tongue in cheek, entertain it certainly does. My question would be, how do PSB continue to be innovative and fresh without repeating the same formula? I’m not sure, but for now enjoy the music of this truly brilliant album.
Out now on Test Card Recording, get the album here
Public Service Broadcasting are currently embarking on a host of live transmissions to support the release of the album. I strongly suggest you catch them live as the show is an extra dimension to the sound creating a unique audio-visual experience. Check out the live dates here
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1. Inform – Educate – Entertain
3. Theme from PSB
4. Signal 30
5. Night Mail
8. The Now Generation
9. Lit Up
11. Late Night Final