Review: Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (2017, PIAS); Old Sport, No Getter tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:46 pm June 29, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Listening to

Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (2017, PIAS)

Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (2017, Play It Again Sam) — If you haven’t heard of Public Service Broadcasting, their shtick is creating gorgeous instrumental compositions in the typical quiet-build-climax sort of way. Within these compositions are clips of old broadcasts and interviews centered upon a topic.

Their magnum opus is 2015’s The Race for Space (Test Card Recordings) that, as the name implies, captures the Soviet vs. U.S. space race from Sputnik and beyond. The track “Go” is particularly amazing and inspiring, grabbing audio clips form Houston Space Center during one of the early Mercury Program launches.

Every Valley carries on the tradition, but in a more moribund sort of way. The topic this time is the rise and fall of the coal mining industry in South Wales. Tracks such as “The Pit” and “People Will Always Need Coal” take UK propaganda encouraging men to sign up for life in the mines and marries it to PSB’s usual driving instrumentals. But unlike The Race for Space, the effect can be harrowing.  The song cycle continues through the eventual decay of the mining industry and its impacts on the Welsh community.

It’s in these later tracks that PSB uses actual vocal lines — i.e., singing — with contributions from Tracyanne Campbell on “Progress” and James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers on “Turn No More,” which would have worked better if, say, an angry Roger Waters sang it instead of someone who sounds like Dennis DeYoung.

It’s an interesting concept for an album, and certainly apropos with today’s economies, though it’s much less enthralling than Race for Space (and certainly less uplifting). With this subject matter, PSB risks sounding too academic, too literal, and as a result, more educational than entertaining. I’d still love to see how they’d stage this album live… Rating: Yes

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Tonight at Milk Run Denver emo/post-hardcore act Old Sport headlines a bill that includes Culture War and No Getter. $5, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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