PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED What The World Needs Now
Six years into the latest reincarnation of Lydon's PiL, and our favourite curmudgeon and his band provide Public Image Record #11, with the superior “What The World Needs Now.” 2012's first reunion album, “This is PiL” was a good opener, a promising second debut, but this sees the band move leaps beyond that, with some of the best songs PiL have committed since the early 1980's. This is a foul mouthed, angry, righteous racket from a new version of the band that have grown into themselves and fulfill their potential.
“What The World Needs Now”, is an album : not merely a collection of songs. A selection of songs designed to work well together, complement each other, flow. “The One”, perhaps the most sentimental thing Lydon has penned in decades, is built on an ascending structure that reminds me of 'Rise'. “Big Blue Sky” sees Lydon sing the way he hasn't really done in a very long time, with harmonies and melodies. The record opens with the marvellous “Double Trouble”, and the opening 4 songs are a suckerpunch of utter PiLness - in fact there's not one duffer on the whole thing,and that is so very refreshing.
So... it sounds exactly like most other PiL records, but it's new... different... probably their most cohesive record since 1986's glorious “album”.which most of this lineup toured. Lydon has a wonderful control of melody, taking the promise of this lineup's later albums (1987's “Happy?”, 1989's “9”), and expanding upon it, with lovely riffs of Lu Edmonds, the insistent drumming of Bruce Smith (ex-Pop Group), and the throbbing bass, and the sense of permanent aspiration and creation ; “I'm Not Satisfied” is the kind of thing that PiL have been doing for seemingly ever, and sounding brilliant at it. I know PiL haven't made many records in the past twenty years, but this is a long-standing piece of work that harks back to their fruitful and brilliant 1980's journey.
Whereas the late 80's version of the band – of whih this PiL is 3/4's the same - seemed to be alien to their earlier, weirder stuff, here, the two bands sound like they've become one : “Corporate” could have come from deep in “Metal Box”. As indeed would album closer, “Shoom”, which to me is the single best individual track PiL have released in 25 years. It's foul mouthed, angry, and rotates on a brilliantly curvy rhythm, that grows and grows and towers, and well, dammit, PiL are better than the Pistols. What The World Needs Now is exactly what the world needs now. PiL haven't made a record this good in 29 years.