You don’t immediately think funk when you hear the album title “For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder,” but from the opening bass lines of “Forces of Oppression” through the next eight songs, funk is front and center in this post punk hybrid from 1980. The short-lived British punk collective The Pop Group combined funk, jazz and industrial rock, long before the latter genre had a name, with quasi-anarchist politics and despite only putting out two records and a handful of singles before splitting up in 1981, the band was highly influential in underground circles, helping to inspire everyone from Sonic Youth and Nick Cave to the Minute Men and Nine Inch Nails.
The re-release of this sophomore album by Freaks R Us (originally out on Rough Trade) finds the material still impressively original and fresh, even more than three and a half decades after its initial release. Beyond the abrasive guitars, the random saxophone squawks and off kilter vocals, are songs brimming with substantive messages about war, greed and police corruption. The record has long been out of print on CD and vinyl, so the re-release is long over-do.
While the band, reformed as of 2010, was never as famous as peers like Gang of Four or PIL, “For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder” is proof enough that the group deserves another shot.