Public Service Broadcasting have been “teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future” for more than a decade now. 2013’s debut album Inform – Educate – Entertain used archival samples from the British Film Institute as audio-portals to the Battle of Britain, the summit of Everest and beyond. Two years later, The Race For Space used similar methods to laud the superpowers’ rivalry and heroism in orbit and on the moon. In 2017, joined by voices including Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield, Every Valley was a moving exploration of community and memory via the rise and fall of the British coal industry. Pointedly topical in its analyses, it reached number four on the UK charts.
For their fourth album, Bright Magic (2021), the band take inspiration from Berlin: “It’s become an album about moving to Berlin to write an album about people who move to Berlin to write an album…”. Heralded as the band’s most varied and cerebral record, Bright Magic is an impressionist portrait of the city from the ground up, less linear and narrative than previous works, combining PSB’s use of electronics and surging guitar rock with sound samples collected in the city itself to realise the dreams of Berlin they’d constructed in their minds.