Monday, June 23, 2008

Gang of Four - Entertainment! - 1979

Entertainment! is one of those records where germs of influence can be traced through many genres and countless bands, both favorably and unfavorably. From groups whose awareness of genealogy spreads wide enough to openly acknowledge Gang of Four's influence (Fugazi, Rage Against the Machine), to those not in touch with their ancestry enough to realize it (rap-metal, some indie rock) — all have appropriated elements of their forefathers' trailblazing contribution. Its vaguely funky rhythmic twitch, its pungent, pointillistic guitar stoccados, and its spoken/shouted vocals have all been picked up by many. Lyrically, the album was apart from many of the day, and it still is. The band rants at revisionist history in "Not Great Men" ("No weak men in the books at home"), self-serving media and politicians in "I Found That Essence Rare" ("The last thing they'll ever do?/Act in your interest"), and sexual politics in "Damaged Goods" ("You said you're cheap but you're too much"). Though the brilliance of the record thrives on the faster material — especially the febrile first side — a true highlight amongst highlights is the closing "Anthrax," full of barely controlled feedback squalls and moans. It's nearly psychedelic, something post-punk and new wave were never known for. With a slight death rattle and plodding bass rumble, Jon King equates love with disease and admits to feeling "like a beetle on its back." In the background, Andy Gill speaks in monotone of why Gang of Four doesn't do love songs. Subversive records of any ilk don't get any stronger, influential, or exciting than this - AMG

If you like "Entertainment!" get it here!

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vex_voxtone said...

Probably the biggest and most influential band in ex-yugoslavia. They held the biggest concert in their lives here in Zagreb, on "Zagreb Biennale" back in 1981 and later they admit it was their biggest gig ever. The place was packed and GOF was at their best. Also they sold more copies of "Solid Gold" in ex-yugoslavia than anywhere in the world :))
They returned to "the scene of the crime" again couple of months ago and although their gig was decent it wasn't even close to their 81 show. Anyway this album is a masterpiece and should be in everyones music collection.

Curty Ray said...

Wow! What a great bit of history. Thanks! :)))

Rinjo Njori said...

When they played the reunion tour back in 2005 they really didn't miss a beat. It's too bad they are trying to go on without Dave Allen. I believe that he contributed to the new album but there was something really cool about the guys rocking out-- even though they are geezers.

J Thyme...kind said...

Punk Funk, oh yea! The Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady [1979 EMI] can hang with this too & so can the the first 3 P.I.L. LP's. First Edition, Metal Box (Second Edition) & Flowers Of Romance.
No Tears EP [1978 Crammed Discs] by Tuxedomoon was massively spun at the clubs as well.

reindeer man said...

Highly influential indeed - I came across Entertainment! in High School after getting Solid Gold, and then digging back into the GO4 discography. I then burnt out several tapes of the thing. Other records I'd proudly play back to back with it would include Dead Kennedys Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, and even Echo & the B'Men's Heaven Up Here. I wasn't hip enough at the time to truly appreciate Metal Box - I was still mad that it wasn't The Sex Pistols. Live and learn.


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