Words by Sean Walsh
It is very fortunate, for those of us who have been on this planet for long enough, that we experienced the music of yesterday. Sounds that further cemented gaps between a nation of proud patriots and the communes of the peaceful-drug-loving counter-culture. Times of war, times of struggle, times of serenity, and times of true desolation and isolation from all things sane, normal, and otherwise commonplace.
Unfortunately, music represents our culture more so than ever…and today’s culture may be an asterisk in the history books we don’t care to explain too much about. This is not the 70’s, this is a time where Corporate America exploits true raw talent, energy, and soul, because it thinks it needs to be put in makeup and paraded around like a fashion model, and any flaws that may once have intrigued us are no longer appreciated, let alone respected. Artists themselves have become so infatuated with this idea of perfection and covering up flaws, that it has changed what their music once stood for.
I don’t know about you, but I for one do not want my favorite metal band looking like a bunch of David Beckham’s. In fact, I want them quite the opposite, like a bunch of Chris Farley’s – incredibly passionate, full of energy, and living in a van down by the river!
Luckily for Gang of Four, they don’t have to worry about any of that crap, because as bloody Englishmen they could give two shits about our twatty-American pop-culture scene. Andy Gill & Co. will make music the way they want to and the way they have done for years, and continue to point out flaws of political systems and corporate monsters. Their newest release What Happens Next is the follow-up to 2011’s Content, and is out on February 24, through Metropolis records. While this is the group’s first release without singer Jon King, there are a number of other guests slotted to fill the voids including Alison Mosshart from The Kills, Robbie Furze from The Big Pink, Gail Ann Dorsey, Herbert Grönemeyer and Hotei.
Gang of Four still articulates their view on society quite emphatically on this release, with such song titles as “First World Citizen” and “Dead Souls”. However, it still sounds very different from their previous releases. Tracks like “The Dying Rays” and “Obey the Ghost” breathe under a weird electronically-submissive and dark atmospheric landscape, which sounds like a cross between some industrial nod to Nine Inch Nails, something off the Lost Highway soundtrack, capped off with an elixir handed to you by a half David Bowie / half Marilyn Manson robot. Other songs like the record’s lead single “Broken Talk” and “England’s in my Bones” seem to embrace the funkier-pop elements, and of course pay homage to some of the styles that made the UK scene explode in the first place.
While at times their pre-millenial-apocalyptic-industrial sound seems slightly out of place in today’s music scene, Gang of Four certainly never aimed to fit in.
‘What Happens Next’
© February 24th, 2015
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