Legendary Bristol post-punk band the Pop Group are reforming. Cited as as an influence by a number of modern producers including LCD Soundsystem, the band have been credited with creating ‘punk-funk’. Politically charged, abrasive, trailblazing – any number of adjectives could be used to describe the legacy of the seminal group who were led by Mark Stewart.
Stewart later went on to form cult band Mark Stewart and the Mafia with Skip McDonald and Doug Wimbash of the Sugar Hill Gang. Other members of the Pop Goup went on to form Pig Pag or be part of outfits such as PiL and African Head Charge.
The last time the band recorded together was in 1980 for For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, but their influence still resonates today. Disparate acts from Massive Attack to Tricky, Atari Teenage Riot to Nine Inch Nails all carry mutated influences that can be traced back to the Pop Group – arguably the first influential band to come out of the city of Bristol, and acknowledged ‘godfathers’ of the ‘Bristol scene’. Punk funk, agit pop, industrial and noise music have all at various times been credited with being invented by the band.
In a typically oblique press release, the band state that they will be reforming to record a new project, The Alternate, and to play some secret shows. The press release also goes on to state their new manifesto : Deny The Politics of Envy. Taste is a form of personal censorship. Technique is the the refuge of the insecure. We are the new banalists.
The first two shows (according to Mark Stewart) are to take place in Italy, on September 18th in Bologna and 20th in Turin.