Public Service Broadcasting

Every Valley


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WITH an accompanying promotional Frankie Says Support The Miners t-shirt, the strike of 1984 that pitched Margaret Thatcher's government against the workers in the coal industry and their families already has a copious soundtrack, from Billy Bragg and Paul Weller to Adrian Sherwood and Keith LeBlanc's The Enemy Within, but you have to be of a certain age to remember that. London trio Public Service Broadcasting only came into being a quarter of a century after the event, but they have chosen to focus on the mining industry of Wales, and specifically its demise at the end of that dispute as the topic of their third concept album.

The title, of course, harks much further back, to Handel's oratorio Messiah, and a male voice choir is one of the distinctively Welsh contributions that feature on the disc, which was recorded in Ebbw Vale. Among the sampled contributions, including testimonies of those involved in the strike, the sonorous tones of Richard Burton stand out on the title track, while Welsh language singer Lisa Jen Brown, James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers and our own Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura add their voices to individual tracks as well. There is fun to be had spotting the 1980s influences on the instrumental colouring as well.

Keith Bruce