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Stereo Embers TRACK OF THE DAY: “Zipperface” from The Pop Group’s upcoming new album ‘Honeymoon on Mars’

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“We’ve at last fulfilled a double fantasy to work with our two favourite sonic assassins, Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell and Hank Shocklee.  We’re in awe as Dennis, the Captain Kirk of dub is taking us on a hyper sound voyage into the future, and Hank, as always tears up the rules totally upholding our faith in the absolute value of noise.  We’ve gone completely off the map.” So speaks Mark Stewart of fractured dubplate post-punk legends The Pop Group, themselves in a league of one when it comes to being sonic assassins. Dennis Bovell, of course, was responsible for some of the heaviest dub-infected works to emerge from the hothouse atmosphere of the UK music scene in the late 70’s early 80’s, not least The Pop Group’s devastating debutand the Slits’ slice of epic distaff primitivism Cut, to this day a monument in artist/producer collaboration. Shocklee, meanwhile, is another giant that needs no introduction, having come, umm, bombing out of the early shock peak of hip-hop as a member of the game-changing production team The Bomb Squad, responsible for early sets from Public Enemy, Ice Cube and many more. When word leaked that those two were going to be at the dual controls for the new Pop Group album Honeymoon on Mars, well, it’s a bit of a surprise to us that the world didn’t tilt off its axis. But, of course, there’s still time for that, and seeing as this first single comes skittering into our consciousness with near unholy momentum, wanders thereafter through the combined wilds of the two producers’ minds like an unleashed funk djin searching for a glimmer of truth in this uncertain world, we expect that the album entire just might have some pretty serious seismic consequences. And insofar as that djin’s search is concerned, it’s in luck, as if anyone’s gonna bring it, it would be these four Bristolian messengers and their new team of sound manipulators. With Stewart declaiming in customary Pop Group fashion – challenging but playful, the incendiary with an absurdist comedic edge – as Gareth Sager strays in and out of guitar bounds, helping hold down the structure while simultaneously pulling it apart and the by-now-beyond-legendary rhythm section of Bruce Smith and Dan Catsis hold the center with typically explosive restraint, Bovell and Shocklee do their sympathetic wickedest, upholstering the track like the ghost of Martin Hannett gone all maniacal dub-disco. “Zipperface,” in short, is a scorcher, a bit of a banger, and more than anything else an exciting harbinger of what’s to come. Released yesterday September 6th by Freaks R Us in digital form via iTunes and all your fave streaming sites, the real goods are offered over on the album’s PledgeMusic page. Get it however you can, we say, but just make sure you get it. Few bottom lines have ever been quite this imperative.