PiL single from 1979 achieves semi-brand status

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When John Lydon wrote a song about his mother’s struggle with cancer for Public Image’s Metal Box, he might have been surprised to find its title being used, a quarter of a century later, by Alan McGee as the name of his global club night franchise and by album compilers as a catch-all for a certain type of cerebral post-punk dance music from the early ’80s.

French DJ Ivan Smagghe misappropriates the term “Death Disco” with his wrong-headed selection of aciiiid, bleep techno, happy house and Italian disco from the late ’80s to the present. Only Kiki’s “Luv Sikk”?with what sounds like a string sample from Bernard Herrmann’s Taxi Driver theme providing the musical leitmotiv?adheres even remotely to the funk noir ethos.

Songs From Under The Dance Floor, however, with its titular nod to Magazine’s 1980 angst-wracked anti-rhythm, is more on-message. Here, The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette”, Simple Minds’ “Theme From Great Cities”, Gang Of Four’s “I Love A Man In Uniform”, Throbbing Gristle’s “United”, Cabaret Voltaire’s “Yashar”, The Human League’s “Hard Times”, even XTC’s “Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)”, exude nervous Cold War energy.