If this writer had to describe Public Service Broadcasting to some of her ‘musically unenlightened friends’, they’d be something like “the gold-diggers of electronic music”. In fact, the London-base duo comprised of Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth effortlessly evades genre classification, meshing electronica, bluegrass, ambient and neo-post-rock.
However, there is much more to taste, when it comes to Public Service Broadcasting’s debut Inform-Educate-Entertain.
What caught the attention of the audience at the times of EP One, was the massive use of samples, such as an infomercial for a record player (‘New Dimensions in Sound’), built into distorted indie-rock lines. But PSB wanted more, and in ‘The War Room’ they dug into War World II materials sampling sirens, propaganda films and a documentary about the invention of Spitfire. Inform-Educate-Entertain broadens the spectrum, as the band have cherry-picked samples to use, from television, to postal deliveries (‘Night Mail’) and military aircraft (the song ‘Spitfire’ is included in the album as well).
In the last decade, samples have been a massive discovery for post-rock bands such as Maybeshewill and Nordic Giants, as the narrative would clearly be emphasized by the instrumental-drive. PSB take sampling to another level, adding on the one hand the jazz-infused drums of Wrigglesworth, and on the other an intricate net of banjo, guitars and electronic instruments. The emotional result is the same, despite being delivered through a slightly different medium: ‘Signal 30′ , for instance, features a heavier post-rock-y structure, perfect for a track, which concerns the dangers of careless driving.
When we assume we can clearly define its path, the sound abruptly shifts in another direction, driving towards crisp math-pop and banjo-driven bluegrass (‘ROYGBIV’), just before sealing it with the synth-y trip-hop intricacies of ‘Late Night Final’. To sum it all up, the track ‘Everest’ is a blissed-out multi-faceted math journey, in a pretty busy, but never overcrowded, sound scape. Based on 1953 documentary of the first successful ascent of the mountain, the track includes the not-so-accidental line: ‘two very small men / cutting steps in the roof of the world”.
Despite being not easy to describe, Inform-Educate-Entertain is definitely an album that is easy to love.