70 Gwen Party

John Peel Sessions

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

The importance and reach of John Peel's show and in-house sessions at the BBC on British music can barely be described without superlatives, but even in the more obscure areas of his work he's had a notable impact. One way was in the hosting of a band like 70 Gwen Party on his show not once but four times, a collection of appearances gathered on one disc along with a couple of studio rarities for good measure. N'Dip's always impassioned liner notes regarding freedom from corporate and governmental control here reflect on the importance of public broadcasting as a general concept, and it's little surprise that he's thankful for Peel's work, very much in the voice of a fan who grew up on earlier versions of such sessions from others. The music itself? A fine and often surprisingly appealing collection of rough industrial/electronic/punk compositions, all the more interesting for steering away from the prevalent Wax Trax!/EBM/Nine Inch Nails models of the time in the early '90s. N'Dip notes that most of the songs either exclusively appeared in session or were heavy reworkings of other songs, but there's still the same sense of spindly riffing, half-understood lyrics, and thoroughly distorted feedback and noise here as often appears in the band's work elsewhere. It's the balance between a relative accessibility and an intentional spiking of that form that makes the duo so weirdly compelling, though, and even with calmer variations more evident in the later sessions, 70 Gwen Party can lay claim to an approach uniquely -- and defiantly -- its own. Specific tracks worthy of attention include "Auto Killer UK," with its nagging bell-sample start and its strong but still almost swinging main riff, and the relatively straightforward "Like Richard Dadd."