ORGAN THING: A first listen to the new Metal Box Rebuilt in Dub album as former Public Image Ltd bassist Jah Wobble revisits old stomping ground…

Jah Wobble –  Metal Box Rebuilt in Dub (Cleopatra) – Okay I confess I jumped to track eight out of ten for an instant taste, the track Public Image is of course, in that original biting form, was as vitally important as it gets. Naughty to skip right to track eight and I know it wasn’t on Metal Box anyway but hey, just getting a first listen here, on to Poptones now  Who is that on vocals? It sounds like someone doing a Lydon impression in a respectfully crisp spoken word kind of way? It works, clear and concise and there are all the words that you couldn’t always hear, is it Wobble himself? I don’t know? Is it him? I could be wrong? I could be right? Well what else was Wobble going to do with the lyrics?  Whatever he’s done and whoever it is, he’s done it well, he’s done it right, he’s done it all justice. You can’t really better the original of course and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the objective here? The original was of that groundbreaking time and place and this does feel right as a here and now 2021 version – it feels precise without ever being too clean cut, the spirit of the original is still very much there. Information is sparse here and hindsight will be doing me no good, I don’t know who’s playing or doing or singing what here? Here’s the press release in full – 

Public Image Ltd.’s second album, the 1979 masterpiece Metal Box (later re-released as Second Edition), was a lightning rod to the music world in more ways than one. The first pressing of the album was sold in an unadorned, round metal tin (hence, the album title) containing three 45 RPM 12” vinyl. The packaging signalled the intention – this was a band whose artistic aesthetic would not be forced to conform to the traditional commodification of commercialized music. As a result, the album became a hugely influential, landmark release in post-punk surpassing even the band’s incredible debut album. Now, one of the key co-creators of that album, and co-founder of PiL alongside former Sex Pistol John Lydon, has returned to Metal Box, completely reinventing 8 of the album’s songs with sophisticated dub interpretations and mind-blowing production! Wobble is, of course, no stranger to dub rhythms, having drawn influence from both reggae and world music throughout his spectacular 40+ year career. But Metal Box – Rebuilt In Dub seems to have truly caused Wobble to dig deep and bring out his absolute creative best. Speaking of the album, he declares “It’s as mesmerizing as the original, but with a deeper broader scope. I put my heart and soul into this.” 

The whole album came with the press release, there is was waiting, all unexpected in the in-box, waiting there straight after the match. This is very much a first listen to the whole thing. There’s a lot of string sounds, it does sound “sophisticated“, not overbearing though, it still feels like the original spirit. Wobble revisits the avant-garde post-punk classic in a stylish way, a refined way, a progressive way, and  PiL were always a prog rock band anyway – you knew we’d say that – this is properly progressive and building on the original in just the right respectful yet challenging kind of way. I like it, I like it lots, the passing people like it, “hey what’s that?”. I have massive amounts of time for the Lydon/Rotten of then, he’s come out with some strange things recently but he does still have credit in the bank, this though might be for days when you want to listen to Metal Box without having to make the effort in terms of listening to where Lydon was at with the original – is this cathartic for Wobble? It does sound like he really did pour a lot of heart and soul in and actually that version of Public Image is rather brilliant and no, i don’t want to tell you too much about it, no spoilers, let’s just say it really really (really) works, the whole thing really works, I wasn’t sure before I started to play it, don’t know why that should be? I guess some things shouldn’t be messed with? This works though, this is right, this is a positive thing, this is good good good. Yes…  (sw)

Pre-order details or alternatively in the UK we see it listed at places liek Rough Trade or Normans or head to Jah Wobble’s own website

Check out the first release from the new album, here’s  the new version of Poptones… 


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