The Pop Group – Thief of Fire (1980)

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“Every song on We Are Time up to and triumphantly including the title track was a delicious shock to the nervous system…Nobody turned tricks like The Pop Group” WIRE

‘Thief of Fire’ is taken from ‘We Are Time’, a collection named after one of their most infamous onslaughts and originally released on vinyl in 1980, remastered from original tapes and reissued by Freaks R Us in 2014.

Of the early studio and live recordings that comprise ‘We Are Time’, frontman Mark Stewart says “The Pop Group was mutating so fast right from the start that it was crucial to document those first experiments with this compilation. ‘We Are Time’ is really ‘the’ teenage Pop Group album. It’s full of defiance and the material demonstrates the band’s staunch independence and our really early DIY ethic before the studio became another instrument.”

Guitarist Gareth Sager explains that the band was “trying in an inexplicably naive manner to combine Patti Smith’s Rimbaud ramblings, James Brown, the Stooges, Roxy Music, T. Rex and classical aleatoric music. You can hear the results of this on tracks ‘Genius Or Lunatic’, ‘Colour Blind’, ‘Trap’, ‘Sense Of Purpose’, ‘Kiss The Book’ and ‘We Are Time.” He goes on to say “soon after this the band were bringing in other influences, Ornette Coleman, King Tubby, Funkadelic, Debussy, Jacques Brel, Fela Kuti, Steve Reich and then you get ‘Thief Of Fire’.”

This searing live version comes from a characteristically incendiary set recorded at the Electric Ballroom, London in 1979.

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