Last Impressions: 3 great albums by PIG

It’s like Trent Reznor and JG Thirlwell had a baby. A sort of KMFDM-shaped baby, because Raymond Watts is the sultry sensation that co-wrote Juke Joint Jezebel.

Let’s just say I spent $100 importing three PIG CDs and it was totally worth it. Filing this under Last Impressions because it was a case of getting them back (let’s never be parted again!).

When Interscope set Reznor up with Nothing Records, Trent signed PIG to his label. Unfortunately most of the actual promotion went on Marilyn Manson, so while most NIN fans had heard of PIG, few of us had really heard the music, which is a shame because it’s brilliant. The early stuff (Praise the Lard) is a love-letter to Foetus wrapped up in sweet funky pop hooks, while mid-90s classics Wrecked and Sinsation are exceptional rock albums that will tickle the earlobes of anyone who loved bands like NIN, Ministry and Die Krupps.

There’s a lot more to PIG than these three, but if you’re remotely curious in Raymond Watts’s oeuvre, here’s where to start.

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WRECKED (1996)

Second only to Praise the Lard as PIG’s most consistent album, Wrecked was released the year after KMFDM’s Nihil, so fans of Juke Joint Jezebel, Disobedience and Brute are seriously in luck here. It’s a vicious, pummelling blend of metal riffs and four-to-the-floor industrial grooves, and it just does not let up. (That’s actually Raymond’s EYE on the cover.) It’s easier to pick weak spots (closer Silt) than to choose favourites – however, the triptych of dancefloor-stormer Contempt, tearjerker Save Me and brutal Only Good One’s A Dead One take some beating (and the remix of Blades puts in a valiant effort to do so).

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SINSATION (1995)

Again, I’m amazed PIG never got more popular, since there’s stuff here that makes the Broken EP sound half-assed. It’s the rockiest PIG of all – soul-shredding Black Album-era Metallica hooks overlaid with daunting orchestral samples and bubbling electronica. Single Painiac got limited MTV play, but The Sick, Volcano and No One Gets Out Of Her Alive are as unforgettably catchy as they are furious. Hamstrung on the Highway is the highlight, with as much spit-take immediacy as the first time I heard Fear Factory’s Zero Signal and dropped my pint in awe.

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PRAISE THE LARD (1991)

At nearly 20 years old it’s showing its age, but what Praise lacked even at the time in modernity it more than makes up for in good old-fashioned songwriting. It’s great all the way through, featuring stomping singalongs such as Gravy Train and the infectious, funky Sweet Child (bear with it!) alongside more eclectic offerings like jazzy Toxico and world-music tinged Infinite Shame. There’s cute ballad Angel, comic Hog Love, the epic string-laden Blood Slicked Highway, and the concluding duet with JG Thirlwell, Sick City – quite simply great songs.

I think that’s what it comes down to, really. Take bands like the Sisters of Mercy and The Mission, and ignore any ideas of genre: they just wrote good rock songs. If you take off the veneer of “industrial rock”, PIG is just good rock songs.

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