“Entertainment!” by Gang Of Four - album review

TJR says

Well, here we are in 1979 and already there are groups making Punk sound old-fashioned, its toughness herewith re-channeled in heavy funk and dub overtones, with shards of guitar positively cutting through your speakers threatening to slash your cones while they're at it. The Punk-Funk Marxists come with a manifesto too: “No corny lyrics, no obvious melodies and no change of key”. The fearsome four from Leeds are: Jon King (24, vocals, melodica), Andy Gill (23, guitar, backing vocals), Dave Allen (23, bass guitar, backing vocals) and Hugo Burnham (23, drums, backing vocals).

The fantastic opener, “Ether” sets the tone, King & Gill trading vocals as two; one living the dream, one living a nightmare: “Trapped in heaven life style (locked in Long Kesh), New looking out for pleasure (H-block torture), It's at the end of the rainbow (White noise in), The happy ever after (a white room)” As King explained: “There’d been a report published in the mid 70’s that found the British Government guilty of torturing IRA suspects. They used to, among a smorgasbord of cruelties, make suspects stand up for hours in hoods while white noise was played at gross volumes to break their will. The report on what was being done in our name was shameful; reported back to us on TV, alongside some other world atrocity, while we were enjoying ourselves, unwinding at the end of the day, getting ready for fun and games. So the notion was for 2 voices , telling scripted parallel stories. One voice, the one who’s living his fine life, says “Locked in heaven’s lifestyle” while the other, at the same time, says "locked in Long Kesh” (the prison for IRA & UDF members in Northern Ireland).

Having been ripped off by the previous label, the group's debut single from '78, “Damaged Goods”, is re-recorded here. A love has turned sour, it's a case of goodbye and so long: “The change will do you good, I always knew it would, Sometimes I'm thinking that I love you, But I know it's only lust”. The album's lead single, “At Home He’s A Tourist” is the best on side two, and might even have given them a Top 40 hit (it stalled at #58) had they compromised for the BBC and changed the word “rubbers” to “rubbish”. No dice said the Gang of Four and that was that. No crucial exposure, no hit. A sympathetic John Peel would sarcastically declare: “Obviously we can't have young couples fornicating in front of the television because of Gang of Four.” My admiration for Gang of Four is absolute.

The Jukebox Rebel
20-Mar-2016

A1 [03:52] 8.1.png Gang Of Four - Ether (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
A2 [03:09] 6.2.png Gang Of Four - Natural’s Not In It (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
A3 [03:08] 5.5.png Gang Of Four - Not Great Men (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) New Wave
A4 [03:29] 7.2.png Gang Of Four - Damaged Goods (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
A5 [03:08] 6.5.png Gang Of Four - Return The Gift (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) New Wave
A6 [03:49] 6.3.png Gang Of Four - Guns Before Butter (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
B1 [03:09] 5.9.png Gang Of Four - I Found That Essence Rare (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
B2 [02:32] 5.4.png Gang Of Four - Glass (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) New Wave
B3 [02:42] 6.0.png Gang Of Four - Contract (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
B4 [03:33] 8.1.png Gang Of Four - At Home He’s A Tourist (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) New Wave
B5 [03:48] 7.0.png Gang Of Four - 5.45 (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk
B6 [04:23] 6.9.png Gang Of Four - Anthrax (Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, Jon King) Post-Punk




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