Public Service Broadcasting carry on with a third full-length album, this one focusing on (and recorded in a key hub of) South Wales’ faded mining tradition. As well as the usual line-up, Every Valley features Welsh guest appearances from Manic Street Preacher Mr. James Dean Bradfield and Lisa Jen Brown. CD and vinyl editions available from PIAS.
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It's not often we completely fall out with our customers but with Public Service Broadcasting we seem to have reached an impasse. We think they are terrible, you like them...as do a lot of people. But let's be friends eh? I am sorry if I offended any of you when I suggested that their fan base was cloth eared. In my defence I've hated Public Service Broadcasting for a very long time. I hated their 2012 release 'The War Room' and that was way before I had any other reason to hate them.
I hated their previous album 'The Race For Space' to a point that I cannot put into words yet I have grudging respect for a band who can make such awful lazy music and not only get away with it but win themselves a huge following. Having pulled the wool over so many eyes it seems that with 'Every Valley' they have set about making something...well... a bit better. The music on the opening couplet of the title track and 'The Pit' actually yearns with emotion. 'Every Valley' has some lovely strings over which the usual spoken word samples are slathered over but as these are the voice of Welsh miners there's something stirring about them. There's real emotion here which continues with the post rock of 'The Pit' and the electronic rock of 'People Will Always Need Coal'.
Musically PSB have dropped their previous cheesiness and musical virtuosity for a more sober and reflective state. This suits the narrative which is an important one at this particular juncture of history- the poor get fucked over time and again. Though the idea here is terrific PSB can't help themselves in filling the sound with far too many samples which can easily become a distraction on tracks like the otherwise lovely 'Progress' which benefits from Tracyanne Campbell' sweet vocals. They could... y'know....always not use them - it's an idea. 'All Out' for example is a pretty excellent piece of Mogwai-ish rock and probably should just be left instrumental.
No, I'm not a fan of their schtick but this is their best album. More varied and musically accomplished than before but the main factor is that this one yearns. It yearns for times past and for the sadness of a community destroyed by the greed of the very people who should be charged with looking after them.
For once after listening to a PSB album my anger isn't directed wholly at their music.
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- Every Valley by Public Service Broadcasting
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