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Public Image Ltd - End Of World (Album Review)

Monday, 14 August 2023 Written by Jack McGill

Photo: Andres Poveda Photography

Public Image Ltd. spin a defiant tale on their 11th studio album ‘End of World’ — their first missive since ‘What the World Needs Now…’ in 2015 — with John Lydon in typically pugilistic voice. Around him, the music remains feverish and fitfully interesting, but there is a dispiriting amount of attention-grabbing from the group’s fabled singer, who is in danger of being left behind.

‘End of World’ opens with the unwelcoming reception provided by Penge, giving the impression that Lydon is sending us straight for the gallows. The title track is more like it — a little industrial, with a healthy amount of electricity to climb the walls. Here, Lydon appears to be a prophet with a noticeable air of smugness about him.

By this point, many will be waiting for the notoriously antagonistic Lydon, who has of late taken to praising Donald Trump semi-regularly, to come out with something truly obnoxious. 

Being Stupid Again duly obliges. Taking aim at students, he expectedly stumbles in the anti-woke affair, labelling his targets “sponges” and “minges”. If that’s not enough, the ever-so-‘80s Pretty Awful masks its sexism about as well as net curtains stop people looking inside your house.

Oddly, ‘End of World’ is also capable of remarkable tenderness. Hawaii is an ode to Lydon’s late wife Nora Forster, who lived for a number of years with Alzheimer's disease. It is not served well, though, by the sneering arrogance displayed elsewhere by the former Sex Pistol.   

Too often, PiL’s comeback feels like an empty reach for relevance, turning to shock tactics when their music can’t catch up to the exciting things happening elsewhere. When in doubt, try to offend as many people as possible. Maybe that will work.

Public Image Ltd Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri September 08 2023 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Sat September 09 2023 - LEEDS Old Woollen
Mon September 11 2023 - SWANSEA Patti Pavilion
Tue September 12 2023 - MARGATE Dreamland
Wed September 13 2023 - LINCOLN Engine Shed
Fri September 15 2023 - BLACKBURN King Georges Hall
Sat September 16 2023 - BUCKLEY Tivoli
Mon September 18 2023 - SUNDERLAND Fire Station
Tue September 19 2023 - ABERDEEN Beach Ballroom
Thu September 21 2023 - EDINBURGH O2 Academy Edinburgh
Fri September 22 2023 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Sat September 23 2023 - HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome
Mon September 25 2023 - COVENTRY HMV Empire
Tue September 26 2023 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Thu September 28 2023 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Fri September 29 2023 - TORQUAY Foundry
Sat September 30 2023 - LONDON O2 Forum

Compare & Buy Public Image Ltd Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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