Album: This Is the Day... This Is the Hour... This Is This!
Artist: Pop Will Eat Itself
Label: BMG Records (UK) Ltd
Released: 1989
Summary: A self destructive culture, perfectly captured on vinyl.

Unlike most albums I review, full of experimental instrumental music, this one is far more traditional in terms of song structure. The tracks are mainly songs with lyrics that conform to the popular verse/chorus style currently in fashion, making this album easily accessible.

Despite Pop Will Eat Itself's conformity to contemporary songwriting, this album stands out amongst more popular artists' offerings because of its unique style. It's almost hip-hop, except it's too catchy, too upbeat and features too many guitar riffs and solos. On the other hand, it's not quite rock, because it relies too heavily on rap style singing, drum machines and, above all, samples. Instead, it sits comfortably in the middle, taking advantage of the best elements of each genre.

The main theme of the album is of a dystopian society not too far from the consumer culture we already live in. Far from being depressing, however, the songs sound surprisingly upbeat and catchy. Although some of them briefly deal with subjects such as drug abuse, America's inherently flawed two party system, and James Brown's criminal record, songs such as Can U Dig It? and Def.Con.One should get even the most depressed people dancing.

Above all else, Pop Will Eat Itself really were about popular culture referencing itself. They arguably did that best in this album, via not only the lyrics, but also the frankly phenomenal amount of samples that surely must have been sneaked onto the album while the record label bosses were looking the other way. In the end, this album not only devours a large amount of pop culture, but also rightfully claims its place in the same arena.

Recommended to anyone who likes hip-hop, guitar solos and Blade Runner. It's worth it just to guess where all the samples are from.

Pop Will Eat Itself's third album, released on May 1, 1989 by RCA. It achieved a midweek position of #41 in UK music charts. Singles featured on the album included Def.Con.One, Can U Dig It? and Wise Up! Sucker.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are no longer in grebo country. The sample infused rock'n'roll sound has survived its way onto this album, but it's met with LL Cool J and Public Enemy influenced hip-hoppery. Don't go thinking the lads from the Black Country have lost touch, though - there's plenty here for the perennial fan. The songs on this album are mostly a step up from earlier album Box Frenzy's Beaver Patrol, but This Is the Day is not without its sillier moments.

The lyrical content of the songs is varied. Comic books, alcoholism, unrequited love, heroin use, James Brown, and even the band's own personal interests provide subjects. One common thread throughout is an abundance of off-handed filmic and literary references coupled with very smooth rhyming. The lyrics are always intelligently put together, no matter how frivolous the topic being addressed.

Musically, it's very fair to say that this record is the most sample driven Pop Will Eat Itself release. Vocal snippets are everywhere, chunks of hip hop songs are wedged between them, and the drum lines are almost all stolen from classic funk releases. This shift in approach might have been related to Graham Crabb's decision to give up drumming (being replaced by a drum machine dubbed "Dr. Nightmare") and join Clint Mansell on vocals, but chances are PWEI was interested in cashing in on the then-current craze in rap music.

Worth noting on this album is that the opening track sets something of a precedant for the Poppies; tt's a brief bump of sorts, consisting of a simple, chanted lyric, intended to bring the listener to a point of excitement before delving into the good stuff. This concept would find a home on two future albums, with similar result to its use here.

Must hear:

Track listing:
01. 01:12 PWEI Is a Four Letter Word
02. 04:25 Preaching To the Perverted
03. 03:16 Wise Up! Sucker
04. 01:23 Sixteen Different Flavours of Hell
05. 03:51 Inject Me
06. 03:20 Can U Dig It?
07. 04:02 The Fuses Have Been Lit
08. 00:57 Poison To the Mind
09. 03:59 Def.Con.One
10. 03:37 Radio PWEI
11. 01:01 Shortwave Transmission On 'Up To the Minuteman Nine'
12. 03:33 Satellite Ecstatica
13. 03:08 Not Now James, We're Busy...
14. 06:41 Wake Up! Time To Die...

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