Not so much an album as a collection of early singles and EPs, Now for a Feast! doesn't waste any time, packing in 14 songs within 24 minutes. Though the speed and brevity of the songs would seem to suggest that early Pop Will Eat Itself would be Ramones freaks, the group actually feels a bit looser than the brothers did, at least originally. Part of the reason is the production, which, if anything, resembles the undifferentiated wash of early Jesus & Mary Chain rather than the slashing punch of classic punk. Some tunes cut through that murk reasonably well, including the band's semi-theme song, "Oh Grebo I Think I Love You," and "B-B-B-Breakdown." Songs like "The Black Country Chainstore Massacreee" and "There's a Psychopath in My Soup" show that the band's sense of humor is front and center, but Pop Will Eat Itself doesn't really feel like a joke band (certainly not in the early Barenaked Ladies sense). Clint Mansell's lyrics are downright sweet and silly at points -- thus "Monogamy," which is as merry a declaration on the subject as could be imagined -- and his singing is actually probably the clearest part of any of the individual recordings. His style is practically casual instead of declarative, which is perhaps all for the better on the one song with mean-spirited sentiments, "Sick Little Girl." The same sort of poppy, slightly drunk singalong style that the band's hometown friends/rivals the Wonder Stuff were known for defines the whole feel of the album (not surprising given how members of both were in earlier bands together). Earlier roots of another sort surface thanks to the final song, a downright giddy cover of Hawkwind's "Orgone Accumulator," which exchanges space rock for silly fun that Slade wouldn't be uncomfortable with.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett