Is The New Public Image Ltd. Album "This Is PiL" The Shit Or Just Shit?

Even if you're a fan of one incarnation of Public Image Ltd., you've got reason to be wary of anything touting itself as a "new PiL album". After all, Johnny Lydon had successfully diluted the potency of the brand with a slew of forgettable studio efforts that were really nothing more than he and a band of hired guns.

Mind you, his last great effort (1986's Album) was a virtual smorgasbord of mismatched hired hands (Ginger Baker and Steve Vai, just to name two) that ended up creating a sort of cock-eyed post-funk masterpiece. From that point on, each new studio album amounted to little more than an exercise in diminishing returns, culminating with 1992's generic arena rock That What Is Not.

So, is the new PiL album any good, you ask?

To be perfectly honest, despite getting off to a bit of a slow start, the new PiL album is a highly listenable affair that sees the band exploring atmospheric post-punk territory quite effectively. Songs such as "Deeper Water" and "Terra-Gate" are some of the most inspired tunes to carry the PiL name in well over twenty years.

Having said that, This Is PiL is not "easy listening", by any stretch. Lydon still seems determined to challenge the listener and what consistutes a "song" - take the "poetry slam" set to a tasty groove that is "The Room I Am In". Also, almost half the album is comprised of songs that run for longer than six minutes, including the album-closing "Out of The Woods", which clocks in at just under ten minutes. That it doesn't seem like ten minutes is a credit to Lydon and his crack team of collaborators and leaves us hoping it isn't another twenty years before our next PiL.

Verdict: "This Is PiL" is THE SHIT!

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