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The Pop Group – For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?

Freaks R Us

The Pop Group - For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?The Pop Group‘s reissue project continues apace with the release of their classic 1980 LP For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? This, their second studio album (and their last for 35 years) saw their overt politicisation, as the title will attest. To the cynical and jaded ears of someone coming to this in 2016, like me for example, there’s an endearing, almost naïve quality to their sloganeering, as with a lot of ’80s agit-pop; but as punk had already proved, that need be no barrier to either artistic success or good songwriting.

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The Pop Group – Cabinet Of Curiosities

Freaks R Us

The Pop Group - Cabinet Of CuriositiesSee, I managed to miss The Pop Group, though this is kind of forgiveable given that I would have been like eight years old or something at the time. Slightly less forgiveable is the fact that I managed to continue missing them for the next thirty years. Which is weird, because not only was I a big fan of bands who had been influenced by them (in particular The Birthday Party, one of the greatest bands ever) but I was also a big fan of Mark Stewart‘s solo output, particularly his stuff in the ’90s with the On-U Sound System, and even more particularly with his 1990 album Metatron.

And then last year I saw them at

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All Tomorrow’s Parties: End Of An Era Part 2 (live at Pontin’s)

Fuck Buttons at ATP 2013Camber Sands, Sussex 29 November-1 December 2013

So it came, as the subtitle says, to the very end of an era for All Tomorrow’s Parties on the English coast. Returning full circle to Pontin’s at Camber Sands where it all kicked off 13 years ago (barring the festival’s origins with Belle and Sebastian‘s Bowlie Weekender a year earlier in 1999 at the same spot), ATP brought out its glad rags and old friends to take rock and roll and variations thereof on a musical jaunt to the seaside one last time.

With recent line-ups often being somewhat less enticing than the earlier events and with declining numbers apparently attending, it’s not such a surprise that the time when holding an off-season indoor festival four times a

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The Pop Group (live at The Garage)

The Garage, London 11 September 2010

The Pop Group at the Garage (pic: Medwyn Jones)Reanimated musical corpses aren’t much of a news story these days – after The Velvet Underground and Throbbing Gristle reformations, nothing comes as a surprise. I was shocked then to realise just how stunned I felt to hear that The Pop Group had got back together to allegedly “blow the dust off the old songs and pick up where we left off…” or might it be perhaps to benefit from some of that old “consumer fascism” they railed so strongly against back in the day?

Mark Stewart (pic: Medwyn Jones)After three decades of informing people that they were the greatest artistic entity I’d ever encountered, it had never occurred to me that I would ever see The Pop Group again. The announcement

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