To coincide with Record Store Day, Public Image Ltd. released their latest adventure - the One Drop extended play. four tracks of material designs to draw the listeners back, ready for the ninth studio album. I reviewed the single 'One Drop' earlier in the year and it grabbed me by surprise at how fresh John Lydon sounds on the recording. The track is filled with lyrical hilarity in a simplistic style. Lydon has been labelled as somewhat of a poet, and it's an understandable claim. He knows how to write a catchy refrain even though his music is completely experimental and stretches the boundaries of commercial music. His rhyming is remarkable, "We come from chaos, you cannot change us. Cannot explain us and that's what makes us" / "We are the ageless, we are teenagers. We are the focus, of all the hopeless." His lyrics are politically fuelled and have purity which other artists just cannot match. British culture is Lydon's favourite topic.
The following track 'I Must Be Dreaming' has a vocal by Lydon which makes him sound like Cat Stevens on '100 fags a day'. The support vocals add to the layers and Lydon's vocal does improve as he hits the high notes. This is a pretty straight forward track, four minutes in total and a heavy electronic feel with the delayed guitar chords. The reggae influences are ever present and the melody of the electric guitar work sounds like 80's Happy Mondays. In contrast to this track is the eerie 'The Room I Am In', with its whooshing percussion and horrifying electric guitar progression. The bass stays pretty solid throughout as Lydon reads out his lyrics. These lyrics are far more poetic and have a political focus again. This would make a great spoken word piece at a major festival in the 'poetry arena'.
'Lollipop Opera' is a free formed dub track. It has its moments of genius, but at seven minutes, it becomes a little extreme. PiL should be used to the long post-rock pieces on the bands earlier albums, but this synthesizer wobble and use of electronics is the work of computers. Johnny Rotten does deliver a brilliant distorted vocal which acts as the chorus, where he talks delightfully into the microphone creating a childish melody which is sweet. The electric guitar sounds dated and could have been pulled from a Primal Scream album. The drumming is great and that's the single instrument that stands out on this track. The album will no doubt feature more tracks like Lollipop Opera and One Drop. I for one look forward to listening to the new material, this EP is a nice introduction for the album.