Clash (magazine) - "[I]t was singer Mark Stewart that really set this group apart from the rest. His vocals were wild, antagonistic, agitated and bitter, delivering epithets and slogans that belonged on a picket line, a battle cry for the disappointed..."
Audio Mixers: Dave Anderson; The Pop Group.
Recording information: Foel Studios.
The Pop Group's second full-length album, 1980's For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, was an even more abrasive and challenging assault upon the listener than their striking debut, Y, and every bit as urgent and uncompromising as the title would lead one to expect. Reeling from the first salvos of Margaret Thatcher's reign as British Prime Minister, Mark Stewart's agitprop lyrics became even more direct and filled with purposeful rage on tracks like "Forces of Oppression," "Rob a Bank," "Justice," and "How Much Longer," while the music similarly upped the ante from the debut. For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? lacks the dubwise tone of Dennis Bovell's production on Y, but the lean, blunt sound of this album connects with even greater ferocity, starting with a guitar-driven variation on James Brown's primal funk sides of the late '60s and adding elements of free jazz, atonal experimental music, and found noises until the music begins to sound like some sort of riot pouring out of your stereo. New bassist Dan Catsis made it clear he was equal to the Pop Group's aggressive low-end fury, Bruce Smith was capable of holding down the beat on drums while adding color and texture to their unfettered forward charge, and Gareth Sager and John Waddington's guitars cut with the precise yet random impact of a machete. Gang of Four's stellar early work sounds meek and toothless compared to the Molotov cocktail that is For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, and it seems somehow fitting that this would be the Pop Group's last album (at least until they reunited in the 2000s) -- it's anyone's guess how they could ever match this album for genuine rancor and chaos. ~ Mark Deming