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World Domination Enterprises - Let’s Play Domination

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Artist: World Domination Enterprises

Album: Let’s Play Domination

Label: Free Love

Review date: Jan. 6, 2010

What do you do when your first record is perfection incarnate? If you’re World Domination Enterprises, and that record is “Asbestos Lead Asbestos,” you know there’s enough mileage in it for endless variations. Though they never topped their debut single (and I must confess to never really chasing up what came after until now), finally hearing Let’s Play Domination proves World Domination Enterprises had it in the mid to late 1980s, an era when a lot of people lost it, or never found it in the first place.

The history’s instructive - Keith Dobson, vocalist and guitarist with World Domination Enterprises, was also Kif Kif, one of the key players in the English late ‘70s/early ‘80s DIY hyper-underground (if you’ve been following Chuck Warner’s Messthetics series, take note), and a founding member of psych-jam band Here And Now (mates with Gong and Alternative TV). So he’s well and truly below the radar, meaning the early 1980s language of ‘entryism’ that curdled so many great post-punk artists didn’t catch on with Dobson. You can hear it in the barely unchecked fury that’s World Domination Enterprises’ brief, an intense, flammable combination of astringent materials.

Let’s Play Domination proves that World Domination Enterprises really only did one thing, but they did it extraordinarily well. Dobson eviscerates his guitar, its thick but metallic tone scratching and dragging all the notes together into a molten lava flow of noise. The rhythm section of Steve Jameson (bass) and Digger Metters (drums) understand the depth and weight of dub, the brevity and edit function of great funk, and the righteous pound of rock at its most accelerated. In the booklet, Simon Reynolds compares them favorably to Big Black, which is about right, though I find World Domination Enterprises far more galvanizing a prospect – and far more furious.

It all coalesces around “Asbestos Lead Asbestos” (and once you’ve heard the original more than a few times you realize the Meat Beat Manifesto cover really was an atrocity); the trio use all the space inherent in dub tactics to punctuate Dobson’s most volcanic guitar playing and righteous vocal delivery. As far as shouting down Babylon goes, you could do far worse, as Dobson’s lyrics accurately capture the reality of grim ‘80s capitalism and Thatcherite rule. It’s exhilarating stuff, and posthumously tags World Domination Enterprises as the other great group who didn’t fake out on punk’s and post-punk’s promises, alongside The Mekons and The Ex.

But listening to World Domination Enterprises I’m also surprised at how livid and vital it sounds in comparison to what else was going on in the underground at the time, such as the Ron Johnson label, bIG fLAME, Bogshed, Stump, etc. There’s nothing wrong with those groups, of course (I love a few of them to death) but none of them had the brilliance and gravitas of World Domination Enterprises, even though they may have shared a few ideas. Reynolds has them down as ‘psychobilly concrete’, which is one of the better genres he’s coined – add eschatological dub and knock-kneed funk to the equation and you’ve pretty much got all bases covered.

By Jon Dale

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