86263-2 That What Is Not
Produced by Dave Jerden
Released on February 1992
Find it at GEMM
86263-2 cover  

W ell that cover’s the elephant in the room, ain’t it? If critics tend to focus on the packaging of That What Is Not rather than the product, blame the music. Produced by Dave Jerden (Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction, etc.), That What Is Not runs straight into the wall of sound popularized by ‘90s metal scenesters: i.e., dime the bass, bag the treble, and smoke ‘em out of their homes. Because PiL never lets the intensity level drop below stun, the album inures the listener early. And so what initially sounds like the second coming of the Sex Pistols soon becomes the obnoxious houseguest who wouldn’t go home. Of course, obnoxious has always been Lydon’s aim, so this music is a less bitter PiL to swallow than, say, This Is What You Want. But there are some things that have no place on a PiL record: female backing singers and a horn section for instance. Maybe the band thought they could tread the same ground as Happy Mondays, but they’re a day late and a dollar short. In its defense, That What Is Not features a handful of good tracks, notably “Luck’s Up,” “Cruel” and “Love Hope.” The remainder of the record is relentless (perhaps a positive if you’re intent on giving yourself a headache) and remorseless. After listening to this disc more than half a dozen times, I’ll admit that the band covers their bets by rocking their guts out, but it seems like such a safe bet after the risks they’ve taken in the past. PiL’s best music is revolutionary, fiercely independent, and That What Is Not simply isn’t. There’s a measure of satisfaction in hearing the band kick up this much of a fuss, refusing to go gentle into that good night, but if you want the 411 on PiL’s recent adventures, dial up 9 first.


  1. ACID DROPS    6:34
  2. LUCK'S UP    4:07
  3. CRUEL    5:19
  4. GOD    5:33
  5. COVERED    4:41
  6. LOVE HOPE    3:48
  7. UNFAIRGROUND    5:17
  8. THINK TANK    4:40
  9. EMPEROR    4:08
  10. GOOD THINGS    5:34

    Written and recorded by PIL


no credits listed on compact disc

return to PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED discography

UK February 1992 Virgin LP/CD/CS V/CDV 2681  
US February 1992 Virgin LP/CD/CS 91815  
JPN 1992 Virgin CD VJCP-28096  
US   Virgin CD/CS 86263 reissue?



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