Gang of Four: Content (Yep Roc) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 27th, 2020  

Gang of Four


Yep Roc

Feb 07, 2011 Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens Bookmark and Share

Before Animal Collective and their freak folk brethren came along, Gang of Four were the influence du jour throughout the indie scene. The Rapture and Bloc Party in particular made a career of aping the band’s angular riffs and taut, throbbing dub-inflected basslines. Not that there was anything wrong with this. 1979’s Entertainment! is widely recognized as a classic, having influenced everyone from U2 to R.E.M. to Nirvana.

Content is the band’s first proper studio album since 1995’s Shrinkwrapped, a long hiatus even by today’s standards of seemingly every band under the sun reuniting for an overdue paycheck. But Gang of Four did the gauche cash-in thing with 2005’s Return the Gift, pointlessly re-recording their hits to largely embarrassing results. But Content, seemingly titled to reflect that this is new content, is anything but a cash grab, as the band sounds thoroughly reinvigorated.

“I Can’t Forget Your Lonely Face” is a trademark Gang of Four tune, all Spartan guitar restraint flourishes from the legendary Andy Gill, staccato basslines courtesy of new bassist Thomas McNiece, with the icing on the cake being frontman Jon King growling, “I look at you/you don’t look like me/you don’t have no ID,” seemingly alluding to xenophobia, an appropriate topic for this notoriously politically radical band.

And this track, like the rest of the record, is like finding an old glove in your closet that feels as comfortable as it did the last day you wore it years ago. Not to reduce Gang of Four to a comfortable, staid band though—they’re as challenging as they were in their heyday throughout Content, and this record will hopefully expose a new generation of fans to their idiosyncratic brilliance. (


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