|Artist||Pop Will Eat Itself|
|Title||X Y & Zee|
|Label||BMG Records (UK) Ltd|
|Design||“American Expressionism from The Designers Republic”|
|Music||Popular dance music|
|Notes||The all too perfectly moniker’ed Pop Will Eat Itself lasted from 1986 to 1995. Unfamiliar with their music at the time, I’m listening now and I hear a baggy dance groove, northern accents, pre-echoes of Underworld and heaps of attitude. All those elements make them a great subject for Sheffield’s The Designers Republic (the lack of apostrophe was deliberate on the company’s part).
This record is a special edition 12″ single which contains three mixes of the title track and another song, Psychosexual that bizarrely applies a sample of an orchestrated version of Satie’s Trois Gymnopedies to a whispering dance groove. It came in a box that the previous owner strengthened with masking tape on the corners. The ‘exclusive Robo-Head Sample It… 10″ sticker’ is long gone, but the record is only a little crackly. The lovely red vinyl positively glows on the black background of the record player. The poster is still in good condition and bears traces of Blu-tack in the corners. This record was owned by a fan who surely stuck it up on her bedroom wall. The band are portrayed as moody and watchful like caged animals.
TDR’s design is a relatively restrained example of the firm’s signature style. The whole thing is rendered in neon colours: green, yellow and red. If the meaning of the central symbol isn’t ultimately decipherable, that’s all to the good. There’s certainly a distinct buzz, replete with sci-fi connotations, to it – blade-like figures extend aggressively out of the central hive/sphere. The record’s title is laid over the base of the motif, the letters abstracted to suggest figures dancing, arrows indicating lines of energy thrusting outwards. Details like the info-box in the upper left corner are delightful, particularly ‘Product status: current’.
Finally, the run-out groove carries the messages ‘Copymaster Miles’, ‘Ssshhh… Don’t Wake Milky.’ and ‘Take your pants off’ – the latter perhaps a punning reference to the group’s collective writing alias, Veston Pance. I’d like to set up a plain website devoted to collecting all the enigmatic messages etched into records.
The group’s lead singer, Clint Mansell, began a new career as a well-regarded composer in the late ’90s with his soundtracks for Darren Oronofsky’s π and Requiem for a Dream while Richard March and Robert Townsend formed Bentley Rhythm Ace.
|Listen||Pop Will Eat Itself – X Y & Zee (Intergalactic mix)