Pop Will Eat Itself Cure For Sanity Reissue
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If This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! was Pop Will Eat Itself's crowning moment -- an exciting, energetic, and very modern English response to the Beastie Boys' own culture-gobbling antics -- Cure for Sanity wasn't all that far off, mixing a couple of more serious efforts with a new slew of catchy, immediate singles and not-bad album cuts. If Clint Mansell and his partners will never be mistaken for the most godlike MCs ever, there's no question that they have their moments (and, in light of later Midlands characters like the Streets, their clear impact). Right from the start the band shows they know the score with "The Incredible PWEI Vs. the Moral Majority" (featuring a Jimmy Swaggart rant about the corrupting power of music) leading into the breakbeat/feedback/techno overload of "Dance of the Mad." Other standout moments include the warm and wistful "X Y & Zee," a scenario using everything from Buffalo Springfield to French movie samples, and the fear-of-flying rumbling bass paranoia of "Nightmare at 20,000 Ft." More obscure album cuts range from the jokey, Erik Satie-sampling sleaze of "Psychosexual" and the quick riff stomp "Very Metal Noise Pollution" to the politicized "City Zen Radio 1990/2000" (specifically ripping into the 1990 hot-button issue of U.K. poll taxes) and the guest MC appearance of "Dr. Nightmare's Medication Time." Another guest vocal turns up with Sylvia Tella's turn on "92 F (The Third Degree)," which is all right, if nothing to write home about. Flood once again provided the production while Alan Moulder's co-engineering work couldn't have hurt; that the team would do later efforts together like Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral and the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness showed that someone was listening in. The one line from "X Y & Zee" says it best about the album and the Pop Will Eat Itself experience: "Let's get lost/In intergalactic punk rock hip-hop." Of all the albums in the reissue campaign, Cure for Sanity has the most alternate 12″ versions and remixes present as bonus material, appropriate enough in light of the thriving dance culture that birthed it. Unsurprisingly, most of the mixes drop the baleful texture of the originals, scattering it across a spectrum of techno and house genres that were still coalescing at the time of their release. Three marginally different versions of “Dance of the Mad Bastards” is probably too many for all but a dedicated completist (mea culpa) to justify, but the inclusion of gems like the glorious dub-techno version of “Cicciolina” by Renegade Soundwave and the full six minute house piano version of the of trotted out “92°F” are really nice to have, irrelevance to the casual fan be damned.