Ah right then, you are asking me to write an impartial product description on this album? Not going to happen. What we have is one of the most forward thinking records of the '90s. A place where Joy Division, Public Enemy, MBV and Young Gods collide to create a barrage of fury and ambience and song craft and sample-delia that no-one has yet got near.
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In 1994 I was so obsessed by this album that I was moved enough to write the words 'Disco Inferno' on the windscreen of my flatmates car. What she did to deserve this was to not come to see them at a gig at Leeds University - the night that changed everything in my life. I didn't know that music could be that powerful, that insane, that unique. Michael Stipe once said about Patti Smith's 'Horses' that it "tore my limbs off and put them back on in a whole different order". That's pretty much what happened to me with 'DI Go Pop'.
Disco Inferno had started off as a pretty regular Joy Division aping group. They were very good as last year's 'In Debt' re-issue can testify but you'd never have thought they would quickly come up with something like this. A series of EPs had suggested something interesting was going on but when 'DI Go Pop' was released it was still a shock. Firstly, their music until this point was pretty melodic and had conventional song structures. 'DI Go Pop' often sounds like a series of people trimming hedges and drilling into concrete whilst Peter Hook plays bass and a deranged, severely depressed Bernard Sumner rants on top. The album still to this very day sounds as fresh as when I first heard it, the difference being I'm now less panicked. You see, at first I wasn't sure what the hell it was they were doing but 'DI Go Pop' is one of those album that has taken years to make sense. Even now it's bewildering. Take, say 'A Crash at Every Speed' where a piano falls down a tower block stairwell and cars scream past and the only musical accompaniment is a filthy Steve Hanley -esque bass line. It has a chorus of sorts where the bass line alters and the whole thing tumbles on it's head but Ian Crause's stricken vocals are so buried you strain to hear every word.
There is only one moment of calm in the entire album, the closing exceptional 'Footprints in Snow' - a gorgeous bass line ascends over twinkly piano and lovely vocal (buried of course) but even here there is the sense of the whole thing tumbling into the abyss. Then the album closes with the sound of a landlady telling the band off for making too much of a racket.
Whatever happened to albums like this? Bold, risk taking music that confronted the listener and almost dared them to climb inside. I once heard a rumour that Rough Trade only funded Disco Inferno because they were convinced they were the Can of the '90s. As time goes on there's some truth in that being the case though DI burned brightly they burned briefly but this music stays vital forever.
8/10 Andy L Customer review, 22nd September 2013
Disco Inferno are rather paradoxical, a band who made genreless records which were, nonetheless, very much of their time. Widely regarded as their masterpiece (only their collected EPs really come close to it) 'D.I. Go Pop' sounds like little recorded before, or indeed since, but is grounded in the mid-90's by it's lyrical approach. A savage critique of the post-Thatcher years, Ian Crause appears utterly alienated by the new 'go-faster' society, but simultaneously bereft at being shut out from it's ambiguous pleasures. The result is gripping, with Crause's vocals, buried deep in the mix, alternating between fantasies of material success and fierce indictments of the new normal, a world where, he claims, "I don't care for anyone, least of all me". All this is underpinned by lugubrious, Joy Division inflected basslines, but the heavy lifting is in the rhythm tracks. These are primarily composed of samples, such as smashed glass, car skids, slot-machine payouts and rolling waves, arranged into rhythms to create perhaps the most innovative and eerie musical approach of it's time. It is, as can be gathered from this summary, often utterly cheerless, with the thoroughly uncompromising "A Crash at Every Speed" going so far as to be virtually unlistenable. It does however end on a happier note, with the chiming, radient beauty of "Footprints in Snow", but even here Crause's material preoccupations intrude, with his utopian vision primarily characterised by "a peacetime boom that never ends". "D.I. Goes Pop" is a draining, difficult record, but give it a chance and it's feverish, squashed world may start making sense in another era where money dominates and many of us are left on the margins.
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