Can you dig PWEI?

Career-spanning Pop Will Eat itself compilation digs deep to mix classic tracks with rarities

Tracks from a 1996 ‘lost album’ by Pop Will Eat Itself areĀ  unleashed as part of a new career-spanning survey.

Def Comms 86-18 (out now via Cherry Red) features material from all the West Mids band’s eight studio albums, plus unheard alternate mixes, a recently recorded demo, and more.

Compiled with founder member and vocalist Graham Crabb, the four CD collection begins with 1986-1989 (Disc One) and selections from their first releases, The Poppies Say GRRrrr! and Poppiecock (including Oh Grebo, I Think I Love You and Theresapsychopathin My Soup), through Beaver Patrol, There Is No Love Between Us Anymore, Can U Dig It? and Wise Up! Sucker!.

Disc Two spans 1990-1993 and includes Karmadrome, the Adrian Sherwood mix of Get The Girl, Kill The Baddies, and X, Y And Zee.

Disc Three looks at 1993-2018 with 7-inch mixes of Ich Bin Ein Auslander and RSVP, and includes No Contest, Talent+Attitude=$, The Demon and 100% Is **It from the so-called ‘lost’ album.

Meanwhile Disc Four focuses on Remixes, Rarities And Unreleased, with previously unreleased Fatman, Oldskool Cool and Eyes Wide Open.

Formed in Stourbridge in the mid-80s, and signed to local indie label, Chapter 22, Pop Will Eat Itself’s early tracks were described as ‘grebo’ – a heavy punk fuelled sound – but the influence of hip hop (Run DMC, The Beastie Boys) and dance/ rock acts such as The KLF, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Big Audio Dynamite, led PWEI (aka The Poppies) down a different path.

Further industrial and electronic dance influences (techno, house) seeped in, and the band can be seen as a precursor to such acts as The Prodigy, combining a heavy guitar sound with samples, scratching and beats.

Can You Dig It? perfectly laid out their influences: Marvel and DC comics, Renegade Soundwave, hard rockers AC/DC, Run DMC, The Fall’s Hit The North, Transformers, Bruce Lee, Alan Moore, Terminator, DJ Spinderella …

PWEI disbanded in 1996, with Clint Mansell going on to a successful film music career in Hollywood, Richard March formed Bentley Rhythm Ace and can now be seen regularly playing bass with Rhino And The Ranters, while drummer Fuzz Townshend presents TV series Car SOS.

PWEI were revived in 2011, and continue to play live and record with Graham Crabb.

PWEI: Def Comms 86-18, Communications 1986-2018 is available now. For details, see:



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