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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Interlocking the cold with the heat (or maybe it’s the opposite) is Gang of Four’s specialty. In Leeds’ northern gloominess, singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Bumham launch their post-punk revolution by means of disjointed guitars and sharp grooves. Entertainment !, their first album released in September 1979, imposes the singularity of this climatic yin and yang. Very very cold then in the melodies that Gill’s six-string clips through stridency and whittling away. But very very hot in its elastic and funky rhythms like the Talking Heads from that era. The pile-up is all the more violent that the texts from this Entertainment! aren’t really entertainment but rather small Molotov cocktails made using situationism, feminism, alienation, North-Irish conflict, Maoist guerrilla in South America and many other festive considerations… With their colleagues from The Fall, Père Ubu, Au Pairs or PIL, Gang of Four rattles the harmonies, the choruses, the solos and the melodies like no other. Their radicalism will influence years later bands like The Rapture, Radio 4, Editors, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released April 19, 2019 | Gill Music Ltd

The notion that the election of Donald Trump and the reality of Brexit was going to inspire a lot of great punk rock, as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did in the '80s, hasn't worked out quite the way some people hoped. But it has encouraged a few veteran artists to tighten their thematic focus, and that seems to be the case with Gang of Four. 2015's What Happens Next -- which debuted the "Gang of One" lineup with guitarist Andy Gill as the only member left from the band's glory days of the '80s -- was a relatively refined and toothless work that dealt with the personal more than the political. But that's certainly not the case with 2019's Happy Now; this music is more deeply rooted in electronics than Gang of Four's best work, but here the surfaces are rougher and cut noticeably deeper, with the grooves suitable for dancing but jagged in their execution. Gill's guitar work is very much in his classic style, full of sharp shards of sound and dense clouds of feedback, and it gives Happy Now an aggressive and muscular punch, even if the guitars are sometimes deeper in the mix than they need to be. Gang of Four have always been more comfortable with thoughtful analysis than sloganeering, and the politics of Happy Now offer no comforting singalongs for your next protest gathering. But Trump's voice gets sampled in "Alpha Male," which clearly concerns itself with some of his myriad scandals, and "Ivanka: My Name's on It" ponders the nature of complicity as it relates to the President and his family. Paranoia in an uncertain time lurks beneath the surface in "Change the Locks," the declining value of truth is the theme of "I'm a Liar" and "White Lies," and the divide between the have and have nots gets ugly in "Toreador." John "Gaoler" Sterry's efforts to sound like original Gang of Four singer Jon King sometimes backfire on him, but he fits better here than he did on What Happens Next, and bassist Thomas McNeice and percussionist Tobias Humble have learned how to generate the funky but ominous bottom line this music needs. Just how much global politics had to do with the making of Happy Now is open to debate, but this music has a clear point of view and a sense of purpose that's stronger than anything Gang of Four has offered listeners in quite some time. Saying Happy Now is the best album to bear the Gang of Four banner since 1995's Shrinkwrapped may sound like a dubious compliment, given how tepid much of their output has been, but this is taut, effective music that honors Gang of Four's heritage but succeeds on its own terms. Global crisis is good for something after all. ~ Mark Deming
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Gang of Four's existence had as much to do with Slave and Chic as it did the Sex Pistols and the Stooges, which is something Solid Gold demonstrates more than Entertainment! Any smartypants can point out the irony of a band on Warner Bros. railing against systematic tools of control disguised as entertainment media, but Gang of Four were more observational than condescending. True, Jon King and Andy Gill might have been hooting and hollering in a semiviolent and discordant fashion, but they were saying "think about it" more than "you lot are a bunch of mindless puppets." Abrasiveness was a means to grab the listener, and it worked. Reciting Solid Gold's lyrics on a local neighborhood corner might get a couple interested souls to pay attention. It isn't poetry, and it's no fun; most within earshot would just continue power-walking or tune out while buffing the SUV. Solid Gold has that unholy racket going on beneath the lyrics, an unlikely mutation of catchiness and atonality that made ears perk and (oddly) posteriors shake. With its slightly ironic title, Solid Gold is more rhythmically grounded than the fractured nature of Entertainment!, a politically charged, more Teutonic take on funk. It's a form of release for paranoid accountants. Financial concerns form the basis of the subject matter; the hilarious but realistic "Cheeseburger" is a highlight with its thinly veiled snipe at America: "No classes in the U.S.A./Improve yourself, the choice is yours/Work at your job and make good pay/Make friends, great/Buy them a beer!" This is a nickel less spectacular than the debut, but owning one and not the other would be criminal. ~ Andy Kellman
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Interlocking the cold with the heat (or maybe it’s the opposite) is Gang of Four’s specialty. In Leeds’ northern gloominess, singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Bumham launch their post-punk revolution by means of disjointed guitars and sharp grooves. Entertainment !, their first album released in September 1979, imposes the singularity of this climatic yin and yang. Very very cold then in the melodies that Gill’s six-string clips through stridency and whittling away. But very very hot in its elastic and funky rhythms like the Talking Heads from that era. The pile-up is all the more violent that the texts from this Entertainment! aren’t really entertainment but rather small Molotov cocktails made using situationism, feminism, alienation, North-Irish conflict, Maoist guerrilla in South America and many other festive considerations… With their colleagues from The Fall, Père Ubu, Au Pairs or PIL, Gang of Four rattles the harmonies, the choruses, the solos and the melodies like no other. Their radicalism will influence years later bands like The Rapture, Radio 4, Editors, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Only within the context of Entertainment! and Solid Gold does Songs of the Free seem truly weak; otherwise, it has its merits and lasting value but doesn't hold up in invention and influence like its predecessors. Clunky rhythms, lumpen tempos, and morbid existentialism dampen some the songs, making the record seem less assertive and defiant. Funk plays more of a definitive role here, defenestrating the frenetics that characterized the earlier records. With bassist Dave Allen out of the fold for Shriekback, the rhythmic chemistry isn't what it used to be. Replacement Sara Lee is excellently skilled, but she doesn't have the rapport with drummer Hugo Burnham that Allen had. There's a certain dour moodiness apparent in the production, most obvious in Andy Gill's guitar on "Call Me Up"; he's less incisive, used more as an atmospheric and rhythmic device than for the dagger shots he provided before. "I Love a Man in a Uniform" wound up being the band's most well-known song, which is something of a shame. Not weak in any manner, it's just unfortunate that more exciting singles like "At Home He's a Tourist" and "Damaged Goods" didn't catch fire. Nonetheless, "Uniform" found its spot down on the disco floor; ironically, odds are pretty good that most didn't realize the lyrical content of the song. With its chorus led by female singers, "Uniform" could be mistaken for something similar in subject to "It's Raining Men." Not the case, as the song is laden with just as much irony as Go4's early album titles. Soldiers sexy! Rifles erotic! Amputations -- well, the picture is clear. [Songs of the Free was reissued in 1995 on Warner subsidiary Infinite Zero/American, with a dub mix of "I Love a Man in Uniform."] ~ Andy Kellman
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 18, 2004 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 2, 2018 | Panatlantic Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 25, 2002 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 18, 2004 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Those not hip to buying non-LP releases missed out on this piece of Gang of Four product, which contains one of their hottest, funkiest songs. "To Hell With Poverty" includes one of the thickest grooves laid down by Hugo Burnham and Dave Allen -- with Andy Gill's charging guitar along for the ride -- as well as one of the band's sharpest lines of sarcastic wit ("To hell with poverty/We'll get drunk on cheap wine"). Taken as a whole the song makes the Red Hot Chili Peppers seem about as funky as Andy Williams and as brainy as -- well, never mind. "Capital (It Fails Us Now)" and "History's Bunk," though containing decent rhythms, are table scraps. Decent, panicked versions of "Cheeseburger" and "What We All Want" close out the EP, with Gill and Jon King trading lines effectively on the former. [Another Day/Another Dollar was appended to the 1995 Infinite Zero/American reissue of Solid Gold.] ~ Andy Kellman
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 30, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Rock - Released March 26, 2019 | Gill Music Ltd

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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This four-track mini-album, originally released in 1980, was like a warning shot fired across the bow of Western capitalism. Of course, the shot was fired by an obscure British band that had named itself, whimsically, after a particularly nasty group of Maoist revolutionaries, and the powers that be weren't paying much attention; let's just say that the great ship of capital stayed its course. But even if the Gang's revolutionary messages failed to have a noticeable political impact, the band's musical influence was tremendous. Drummer Hugo Burnham and bassist Dave Allen generated a minimalist yet monstrous groove that underpinned Andy Gill's jagged, funky, slash-and-kill guitar and the flat, plainly didactic vocals of Jon King, and the resulting sound was bracingly unique. This debut EP was the sparest, most frightening thing the band ever released; "Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time" and "It's Her Factory," the two standout tracks, are both built on bare-bones funk drumming and brief bursts of angry guitar, over which Jon King shouts lines like "Home/It's no castle/He wants his wife to run/And fetch." Is it fun? No. Is it poetry? No. But as dialectical rhetoric goes, it sure is compelling. ~ Rick Anderson
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Pop - Released January 1, 1991 | Universal Records

Seven years after Gang of Four's breakup, founding members Jon King and Andy Gill reteamed for Mall, a minor return to form that improves on 1983's abysmal Hard but fails to recapture the ferocity of the band's most stunning work. Slickly produced, with a heavy emphasis on synthesizers and ersatz funk rhythms, the lyrical focus returns the group to the political arena: as suggested by the title, Mall is laced with the usual examinations of consumerism and the economy, while the sample-heavy "F.M.U.S.A." is an essay on the Vietnam War. An odd cover of Bob Marley's "Soul Rebel" rounds out the set. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 6, 2008 | Gang Of Four Recordings INC

Alternative & Indie - Released | Metropolis Records

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Punk / New Wave - Released | Metropolis Records

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More than one wag has referred to 2015's What Happens Next as the work of "Gang of One," since guitarist Andy Gill is the only member of the original Gang of Four lineup who was still on board for these sessions, following the departure of vocalist Jon King in the wake of 2010's Content. Much of What Happens Next sounds like a careful effort to balance the thick but limber "neo-Marxist funk" of the band's first era with a more streamlined and contemporary electronic attack, and the result sounds a good bit less like Gang of Four than a 21st century solo set from Andy Gill, especially given the presence of several guest vocalists (including Alison Mosshart, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Robbie Furze) and a production that's less funky and muscular than the group's best and best-known work. There's still a tough, dance-friendly core to these songs, and Gill's guitar work remains thoughtful, incisive, and challenging, but this feels less like a band's work than an project created by Gill and some sidemen whose job is to play well and stay out of his way (and they do both skillfully). Adding to this is the album's lyrical tone; What Happens Next deals more with the the inner crises of the individual in the digital age than the witty but pithy assessments of how politics and economics impact us on the large and small scales. The wordplay here is intelligent and observant, but also severe and joyless; there's little if any wit and a lot of free-floating anxiety in these ten songs, and nothing here is ultimately as memorable or compelling as anything from GoF's first three albums. If it is unfair on some level to compare What Happens Next to the work Gang of Four released between 1979 and 1982, in a real way that's a consequence of Gill insisting on billing this band as Gang of Four; instead of standing on its own, it's part of the legacy of a band whose history has become increasingly muddled, and while there's much here Gill can point to with pride, more than a few fans are likely to feel they didn't get what was advertised. ~ Mark Deming