Review: Public Service Broadcasting – The War Room EP

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Already holding the crown for most innovative musical concept with releases EP one in 2010 and R.O.Y.G.B.I.V back in March of this year, Public Service Broadcasting release their most cohesive and perhaps most solid representation so far, The War Room. Having already shown their ability to reimagine run of the mill public service broadcasts into musical pieces that embraced the sampling skills of Grand Master Flash and psychedelia of The Avalanches and David Holmes, The War Room sees the duo taking on the BFI propaganda records from World War II.

The first notable point of the five track EP is the cohesive theme that J. Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth are tackling, World War II. From the outset with If War Should Come a much sombre tone is felt than with previous releases and it continues throughout making more out of the propaganda samples than you would think is possible. Centerpiece to The War Room is the heavily kraut-esque Spitfire, which takes the work of Leslie Howard and sets in a world much closer to that of post rock Glaswegians Mogwai. Swirling, right-angled distortion forms the base of the looping soundtrack that chronicles the famous aircraft. This layering style flows through the rest of the release but with different instrumental focuses. With London Can Take It and Dig For Victory, the change of guitars to sythns gives a much heavier new wave feel and fall happily at the feet of any Mute Records aficionado with some of the finest, meaningful circuit work going.

Praise aside though, its not all plain sailing for Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth in their travels through the British Film Institute. One of the foremost pleasures found with Public Service Broadcasting is the fun that goes along with their innovation, something that the World War subject matter doesn’t leave room for. This issue makes the EP hard going at times and something that is guaranteed to darken even the sunniest afternoon. That cautionary note aside, The War Room EP continues the cannon of Public Service Broadcasting excellently and widens the scope of possibilities for what is becoming a highly anticipated Long Play in the near future.

Words: Ben Clark

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