Friday, July 01, 2005

Everything old is new again

Gang of Four - Entertainment

So much great music made it's way into the Rhapsody library while I was on vacation - it's overwhelming. So forgive me if I step on some feet of folks (Covalent Bond, Rhapsody Rock School) already covering this... I just can't help it.

The reciprocal nature of rock is such that Gang of Four find themselves needing to thank bands for ripping them off. Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, The Rapture, and Art Brut have brilliantly aped Gang of Four's staccato danceable funk punk, and in so doing created a greater interest in the originators then ever before. Gang of Four is back together, touring and even getting ready to release a new album. What I'm about here, though, is the reissue of the album that started it all - their debut classic Entertainment. It hit the scene with barely a splash, but it's influence was and is everlasting.

Gang of Four were named after a group of Communist Party leaders in the People's Republic of China who were arrested and removed from their positions in 1976, following the death of Mao Zedong, and were blamed for the events of the Cultural Revolution. The band's marxist politics are sewn into the fabric of abrasive guitar and funk bass lines, and sung by Jon King in a dry matter not unlike Mark E. Smith's ramblings in The Fall.

Standout tracks include "I Found That Essence Rare," "Damaged Goods," and the nearly psychedelic "Anthrax." I can't claim to have been aware of it at the time of it's release, but instead came to it via Mission of Burma, who were heavily influenced by GO4. "I Found That Essence Rare" is the track that resonates the most with me still, while "Damaged Goods" and "Not Great Men" just beg me to turn the volume up as loud as it can go.

So much has been written about this album that I really can't add much without feeling like I'm plagiarizing, so I'll leave it at that, and add some links.

Covalent Bond on Entertainment
Covalent Bond's playlist of Gang Of Four's influence
Rhapsody Rock School on Entertainment, specifically "Damaged Goods"
Wikipedia's entry for Gang of Four
The Crutch's Retro Review of Entertainment
Chart Attack
BBC Collective post on GO4

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drake leLane said...

Gang of Four - Entertainment

* "Ether" - Gang Of Four
* "Natural's Not in It" - Gang Of Four
* "Not Great Men" - Gang Of Four
* "Damaged Goods" - Gang Of Four
* "Return the Gift" - Gang Of Four
* "Guns Before Butter" - Gang Of Four
* "I Found That Essence Rare" - Gang Of Four
* "Glass" - Gang Of Four
* "Contract" - Gang Of Four
* "At Home He's a Tourist" - Gang Of Four
* "5.45" - Gang Of Four
* "Anthrax" - Gang Of Four
* "Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time" - Gang Of Four
* "He'd Send in the Army" - Gang Of Four
* "It's Her Factory" - Gang Of Four

The Covalent Bond said...

Hi Drake,

Thanks for the mention. I really appreciate it.