Sunday, December 29, 2013

Album Review: Public Service Broadcasting - Inform - Educate - Entertain (2013)

I picked up a copy of Inform - Educate - Entertain, the debut album from the London-based duo Public Service Broadcasting, after my old friend Porky had reviewed and recommended the album over at Porky Prime Cuts earlier in the year.

Last year’s ‘The War Room’ EP had already introduced me to the possibilities of what might happen when you combine a firm indie rock aesthetic with a keen sense of history and access to a massive archive of BBC radio samples, but there was a unfulfilling brevity about that World War-themed EP.
However, the full-length album has enabled PSB to expand its horizons a little, and that ultimately makes for a far more rewarding (if more intense) listening experience.

Inform - Educate - Entertain is a retro-futurist journey through several generations worth of radio samples, presenting soundbites to act as markers which identify and document just how far it is we’ve actually come.

And back in the day, when the world was still black and white, those radio announcements, emergency broadcasts, and news features – formal or otherwise – usually meant a thing or two. Something that’s relatively easy to forget in these ultra-connected, heavily-networked, supposedly far more enlightened times.

Inform - Educate - Entertain essentially does exactly what it says on the tin (or in its title). The album works as a reminder that life wasn’t always as easy as we have it to today. A reminder of just how hard our forefathers had to work to become informed, and of the limited choices they had in terms of how that news was consumed. And as a chance to appreciate just how much our world has changed … not only in the UK but also across the globe – although the themes presented are generally specific to Britain, back when it was still prefixed by the word “great”.

‘Spitfire’ is the only track from the EP to be carried forward to the album proper and it remains a fascinating insight into the general mindset of the pre, mid, and post-war British public. Other highlights include ‘Signal 30’, ‘Night Mail’, ‘Lit Up’, and ‘Everest’ (clip below) …

... and here’s a track from the ‘The War Room’ EP of 2012:


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