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Gang of Four

Happy Now


Apr 04, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The Gang of Four of 2019 is very different to the Gang of Four that was founded in Leeds, England in 1977 and helped invent post-punk. Some 40 years, two hiatuses, three reunions, and few line-up reshuffles later, guitarist Andy Gill is the only remaining original member. If you thought that means they have lost any of their edge, however, think again.

The Gang of Four of 2019featuring vocalist John Sterry, who joined the ranks in 2012 and who sounds totally at ease in the roleis just as caustic, just as relevant and just as vital today as in the late 1970s. To some extent, much of that is down to the world’s political climate. Back then, the band came into being during the Conservative rule of Margaret Thatchera heinous politician who helped destroy unions and the mining industry while greatly increasing the unemployment and childhood poverty rates of the UK. Similarly, two years later in America, Ronald Reagan’s reduction of tax rates and the culture of Reagonomics had similarly devastating effects throughout the U.S.and the effects of his trickle-down economics kickstarted the huge wage disparities and a crumbling infrastructure throughout the country that we see today. Those lingering effects would probably be enough inspiration on their own, but add a disastrous Brexit situation and the fact that a racist demagogue is in the White House to the equation and it’s clearif only from the song title and subject matter of “Ivanka: ‘My Name’s On It’” that the creative juices for this ninth studio album were in full flow.

The record’s nine songsand one bonus trackare largely dark and electronic, flowing with a kind of dystopian tension that reflects the paranoia and distrust of the modern age we’re living in. It’s an album that sounds like society collapsing-its songs riddled with a disconcerting, unnerving uncertainty and a kind of apocalyptic anxiety, despite the vigor and confidence of the music itself. So while the Gang of Four of 2019 is very different to the Gang of Four that started in the late ‘70s, it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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