Pop Will Eat Itself - Watch The Bitch Blow EP

(PledgeMusic, pledges from £5)

When original founder member Graham Crabb reformed Pop Will Eat Itself with a new line up, and with the former band members' blessing, their release "New Noise Designed By A Sadist" had nods to both the past and the future, and overall was pretty good. Fast forward a couple of years onwards, and after two Sleigh The UK tours, a new EP was announced via the Pledge Music platform, which meant that pledging enabled the EP to be made. Pledging from £5 upwards gets you the EP as a digital download, and other higher value options include a signed megaphone, going bowling with the band, or if you have a cool £5k spare, your own house concert with them.

Anticipation was pretty high here at the Towers following a preview of the EP (originally called Watch It Blow EP, but on release called Watch The Bitch Blow EP - the band have confirmed to me either name is cool with them) where the intentions were made clear: it was going to be much more in your face, and yet with involvement from former members in the way of remixes or where the tracks originated from. Could it be a stepping stone to their album later this year and a way of really giving the Mk2 line up a platform to really kick from?

In short: a resounding, large yes. And here's why: in the title track "Watch The Bitch Blow" you've got one of the most charged, in your face, no compromise tracks of the year. Already. The main guitar riff is courtesy of collaborator Kerry Hammond (aka The Buzzard) and once that kicks in, Mary Byker's vocal really suits the passion and power of the track, which effectively is about kicking against the system of social and economic inequality. The Anonymous masks worn by the band in December 2013 should have given the clue away: they're not going to go away, or play nicely, and why should they? Key lines: "The illusion of freedom keeping us enslaved" and the chorus of "Waiting on an avalanche, watch it blow" which drives into the brain and won't leave.

It's also the sound of the band becoming at one with itself a lot more, the sound of passionate anger fuelled and channeled and in a way that makes you sit up and take notice. Whilst it may be more than a protest song or a call to arms for some, you can see that when performed live this is going to be pretty intense and right to the point. People may try to break you, but it's how you fight back is what will make you, they say. And if this is their fight back, then we should all be in. As of now.

"Hollow" has its history from the now infamous "Sonic Noise Byte" sampler from 2005, with former drummer Fuzz Townshend having the original idea for the track. Only snippets existed, so it's a really good move to get it into a final track. And how, it sprawls its way through six and a half plus minutes of epic feeling. The ambient feel of the start with choruses is punctuated with a middle section of "playing my song again" as the refrain, before the final two minutes of a killer bass line with one of Graham's trademark rap style vocals over the top, giving almost a part two feel to it. This will grow on you as you listen over time, I'm convinced.

"Babylon RIP" is in a way a chance to finally put to bed the original 1994 version of "Babylon" that was on the band's "Dos Dedos Mis Amigos" release. The ambient feeling album version really divided fans: I wasn't a big fan of it. Some preferred the radio version, and with this in mind, the version here resembles a much more friendlier and approachable feel to it. It also sounds more controlled in its delivery, punctuated by its drum beat and the "wake up" refrain with some very neat electronic lead line. Must admit I'd have preferred this version to have been on "Dos Dedos Mis Amigos" to also be honest, as it just sounds as it should.

The final three tracks are remixes of existing tracks that first surfaced on "New Noise Designed By A Sadist" - first off, the "Sweet Dreams" mix of "Mask" by Graham himself. Much more Industrial and beat driven in its remix with some distorted vocals, it feels much more like a sprawling monster of a mix, and no bad thing. I'll appreciate it more as time goes on but the immediacy of the beats and some of the "sweet dreams" samples makes for slightly uncomfortable listening, in a very good way, and takes the original song to pieces, spitting it out with attitude.

Next then is "Every Day Is A World War" (a bonus track from NNDBAS) and a driving mix at that, by Kut Loaf (one half of which is original PWEI member Adam Mole no less) and the mix here certainly has that same Industrial sounding edge, and makes improvements on the album release in that there's more anger as the track develops. It also isn't too long either - sometimes making a mix too long can lose interest and this is where shorter and sharper holds the attention nicely.

Finally there's Sam Dodson of Loop Guru's remix of "Wasted (part 2)". Part two was always an ambient chilled out closer, and here it's been given plenty of dub treatment, with space along the way for you to sound very slightly disorientated as the patterns from the original flow around the space created. It's one of those you're either going to love, or you're going to loathe. For those who enjoy dub, it'll be a good track to certainly play very late at night, lights down low, and just the right mood to take you on a rather spaced out journey. I'm still a bit indifferent to this.

I must admit though that I have to go back to the title track of this EP. "Watch The Bitch Blow" really ranks up there with some of the classic PWEI singles, and as a whole, this EP shows a lot of promise in the direction the band are currently taking. With an unofficial World Cup single and a new album out later in the year, it could well be the year that the rest of the world wakes up and rediscovers the incredible PWEI. Here is hoping. Pledge, buy and enjoy. Simple.

Warren's rating: 84%