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EP Review: Public Service Broadcasting – White Star Liner
Public Service Broadcasting fail to excite on their latest concept EP detailing the sinking of the Titanic, Music Writer Francesca Hopkirk reviews
Despite a promising lead single, the rest of the new EP by Public Service Broadcasting, White Star Liner, just missed the boat (don’t worry, this won’t be a review entirely filled by bad boat and/or Iceberg puns...in fact, I promise this will be the last one).
“This, ultimately, will be an album that only die hard fans of the band will ever listen to more than once
For those unfamiliar with Public Service Broadcasting, the London based band use samples from old information broadcasts, news reels and public service announcements, and layer them over punchy instrumental compositions. Although sampling is a common practice in the industry, the band can only be described as experimental, with virtually all of their songs containing no actual lyrics, and using instruments ranging from the ultra-classics (guitar, piano, drums), through to the use of a flugelhorn (if you, like most people, are wondering just what exactly a flugelhorn is, you should be getting the picture of just how experimental this group can be).
“This has all the hallmarks of a classic Public Service Broadcasting track, however, this does mean that there is little to this track that they haven’t done before, and they have done it better
Then comes the track entitled ‘C-Q-D’, named after the distress signal sent out by the captain of the Titanic once they knew they were sinking. Just where you think things might get interesting (the point at which most people’s interest peaks in a three-and-a-quarter-hour-long Leonardo Di Caprio Movie), the song suddenly falls flat. Although the drums in ‘C-Q-D’ match the Morse code for this distress signal, which, whilst undeniably some small stroke of genius, is not quite enough to compensate for the overall lack of punch packed by the track.
“I would suggest that you could listen to any random 4 tracks previously released by the band and still have a better experience than listening to White Star Liner from beginning to end
The band have, undoubtedly, managed to discuss many aspects of the sinking of the ship for just 13 minutes of EP. They have, undoubtedly, made a good lead single (it just so happens they have produced this single before, just with a different title and subject matter). They have even, undoubtedly, managed to stay sensitive to what is still remembered as one of the great tragedies of modern times. However, I would still suggest that you could listen to any random four tracks previously released by the band and still have a better experience than listening to White Star Liner from beginning to end (which is saying something, because much of the band’s power does come from overall impressions of concept albums). Although, it really should be stressed that this is undoubtedly due to the quality of music previously released by the band, not necessarily a total lack thereof in this EP.
'White Star Liner' is available now via Test Car Recordings. Tickets to see Public Service Broadcasting perform live are available here.