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World Domination Enterprises, "Lets Play Domination"

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The only full-length album from this London based trio has been high on my needs-a-CD-reissue list for years. Originally released in 1988 on the Mute subsidiary Product Inc., this abrasive and unapologetic stew of noise rock, punk, and reggae is a vibrant and flawless classic that sounds as peerless now as it did 21 years ago.

 

WorldDom/Free Love Records

Dubbed "psychobilly concrete" by Simon Reynolds in 1987 after witnessing what he claimed was "the most exciting show ever seen," World Domination Enterprises matched a tight rhythm section with the sound of guitars damaged and distorted almost beyond recognition and the angry vocals of Keith Dobson. They wasted no time: the original 14-song LP doesn't even amount to 40 minutes.

After various incarnations of Dobson's band The 012, Keith, along with Steve Jameson on bass and Digger Metters on drums renamed themselves World Domination Enterprises and in 1985 recorded the single "Asbestos Lead Asbestos." It won praise from John Peel and, subsequently, the band hooked up with Product Inc. for a couple more singles: "Catalogue Clothes" (1986) and "Hotsy Girl" (1987). Lets Play Domination didn't surface until 1988 and although it contains two of the previously released singles and three cover tunes it holds together damn well.

I'll admit I didn't track down the album until after Meat Beat Manifesto covered "Asbestos Lead Asbestos" in 1996. It was one of those slow burners that became more rewarding as time went on. At first, I didn't appreciate the album very much,  but over the following few years, as bands like Neptune and Sightings started to surface, Lets Play Domination started sounding better and better. 

Side one opens with the thud of what could be a speaker blowing, and then the pulsing bass of "Message For You People" begins, almost immediately joined by drums and blistering guitar noise. Neither the context nor the content can be called pretty. The term "ghetto punk" gets tossed around with respect to WDE and it's no shocker considering songs like "Ghetto Queen" and  "Blu Money," where Dobson sings the refrain of "I blew money that I coulda bought drugs with."  Also on side one is their sneery hit "Hotsy Town" and their beat boxy cover of LL Cool J's "I Can't Live Without My Radio." Side two is more  downtempo, opening with the groovy, classic "happy fun tune" of "Asbestos Lead Asbestos." It also features their brilliant cover of  U-Roy's "Jah Jah Call You."  "The Bullit Man" and "The Stack Blew Jack" are placed next to each other, possibly intentionally, as they follow the same exact start/stop blueprint and melody scheme. The LP closes with their bouncy, shouty, and brief version of Lipps Inc.'s "Funkytown."

Shortly after Let's Play Domination came out, Mute dissolved Product Inc. (which also had releases by Swans, Pussy Galore, and the Bambi Slam) claiming that they would no longer deal with "guitar bands." It's ironic that in the same year WDE finally self-issues Lets Play Domination on CD, Mute releases A Place To Bury Strangers. World Domination Enterprises continued for only another couple of singles and EPs before dissolving in 1990, when Digger Metters quit the music business to pursue a religious path.

On this CD edition, bonus tracks from singles are added. The A side "Catalog Clothes" appears with "Hotsy Girl" and "I Can't Live Without My Radio" (both of which appear in different forms earlier on the disc) along with "The Company News" and the previously unreleased "Do Do Go Go." Including them on this disc was a poor decision as it doesn't make for a great listen. This release would have been much better served by a 2xCD set with the full original album on disc one and a second disc for A sides coupled with their B-sides, collected with the remixes and live recordings which appeared on the EP Love from Lead City

I have a major problem with the remastering job on the disc, too. Either my original LP doesn't sound right or the EQ here has been severely tampered with, resulting in a disorienting high end cut. It is rectified however when I turn treble all the way up to the max during playback. But, for those with computers and portable devices that can't control such factors, the sound simply won't be the same. 

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Last Updated on Sunday, 03 January 2010 12:29  


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