With producer Bill Laswell and various sessions musicians, including Ginger Baker, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Steve Vai, Public Image Ltd. mocks its own deliberate “generic” quality by naming the album Album. Except with former Sex Pistols’ singer John Lydon corralling the sessions with Laswell, the effect is something else altogether. It’s not “generic,” but a fully produced piece of dense alternative/hard rock, led by one of the most distinctive lead singers in the business. “FFF” begins things on the fast track, jumping right into the craziness with nary a pause. The hit single, “Rise,” is about as perfect a single Lydon ever composed, with its swooping hypnotic bass lines wrapping themselves around the various elliptical lyric lines that sum up with “Anger is an energy.” “Fishing” subdues the attack slightly with a modest, layered arrangement that makes Lydon sound as if he were singing from a command post. “Home” actually takes a streetwise strut with churning electric guitars that without Lydon’s participation could be a mainstream hard-rock anthem. But Lydon never takes the easy way out.

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