Opium Jukebox kick out the jams sitar-style, blending wit and reverence in their warped ode to the Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bhangra. This time around, the Jukebox consists of madcap loud-music impresario and Pigface guru Martin Atkins, industrial pop engineer Julian Beeston, Evil Mothers guitarist Bobdog Catlin, and tabla and sitar multi-instrumentalist Rahul Sharma. As on Music to Download Pornography By, the band's somewhat sarcastic intentions make for some seriously complex and artful musical results. The album starts with two relatively faithful covers. The band's first take on "Anarchy in the U.K." zips along via exotic instrumentation and translates the original's catchy melodies and crazed energy to a tee. "God Save the Queen" keeps the same Indian feel but takes off, thanks to a wobbly drum'n'bass undercurrent and brittle flutes that replace Johnny Rotten's chant of "no future." "Pretty Vacant," "Bodies," "Holidays in the Sun," "New York," and "EMI" are harder to recognize, as the band takes on a more abstract route of repeated loops, tropical dub, and woozy buried melodies. "My Way," a twisted take on Sid Vicious' mauling of Frank Sinatra, is perhaps the lone misstep. It feels painfully like the Moog Cookbook's Muzak stylings. The second take on "Anarchy in the U.K." really just quickens the pace of the first showing, so it feels more like a bonus track than anything else. Never Mind the Bhangra has more in common than Opium Jukebox might think with more serious tributes/interpretations like Philip Glass' reworking of classic David Bowie and Jaz Coleman's symphonic take on the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and the Who. While it might not please fans of world music or punk rock, Never Mind the Bhangra is a truly fun magical carpet ride for Sex Pistols completists.
Never Mind the Bangra: A Tribute to the Sex Pistols Review
by Tim DiGravina