The Politics Of Envy
Future Noise, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/12/2012
You may not immediately be familiar with the name Mark Stewart, but there’s little doubt you’ve heard his work somewhere. Having collaborated with Trent Reznor, Tricky, Massive Attack, Chicks On Speed, ADULT, and Primal Scream, Stewart is also the founding member of political post-punk legends The Pop Group, who made a respected name for themselves in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Following The Pop Group’s demise, Stewart later went on to be regarded as a pioneer of industrial hip-hop, and his creative mind has yet to slow down to this day.
Now in his fifth decade of releasing music, Stewart’s newest endeavor is The Politics Of Envy, featuring a stacked all star cast of contributors, including cult filmmaker Kenneth Anger, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Richard Hell, The Raincoats’ Gina Birch, Slits’ bassist Tessa Pollitt, Jesus And Mary Chain bassist Douglas Hart, and Primal Scream and Clash/PiL guitarist Keith Levene.
A songwriter whose career has spanned many different genres of music, he flirts here with dubstep, punk, reggae and full throttle rock, all with his well-regarded socio-political wordplay. With the handful of musicians he has helping out, each track here takes on a new identity, each one addressing a different ill of today’s society. The abundance of political strife and controversy in the media has given Stewart plenty of fuel, as he unleashes abrasive rants on the status quo, showing that age hasn’t dulled his fiery tongue at all.
This disc features a kaleidoscope of sounds. tracks like “Baby Bourgeois" emanate a crisp disco sound, while metal riffage can be found elsewhere on “Stereotype." The long list of contributors keep each track fresh and exciting, dabbling with plenty of power and melody, and even a moody, eerie version of an often overlooked David Bowie tune (“Letter To Hermione"). Still as relevant today as he was in the ‘70s, Stewart’s eighth solo disc offers something for everyone.