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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Review: Gang Of Four - Peel Sessions

I find it odd that Gang Of Four's latest cd has them re-recording old hits faithfully to the originals. It may be good but I have the Peel Sessions so 15 bucks stay in ye 'ol vault. Compiled from three John Peel radio sessions, the sound is of course perfect. It slows down as it goes along, with the best material loaded up front.

Gang Of Four released Entertainment! in 1979 and by many accounts, including mine, it's one of the most influential records on modern music. It combines asexual funk rhythms, slashing guitars, disaffected vocals and cartoonishly strident Marxist polemics that have aged as well as Ward Churchill. Gang Of Four are either pushing or pushing back 50, so I wonder if anyone's asking them if they see the irony in their lyric "Repackaged sex keeps your interest". You know, as in selling old records seems a bit bourgeois.

Over its 11 tracks the Peel sessions start with songs from Entertainment! and moves to slower material (and material played slower) from Solid Gold, an over-rated record if there ever was one. The slower work has its charms but faster is always better and I don't want to keep reminding myself I'm not listening to Throbbing Gristle or Can on barbiturates.

One more thing: "I Love A Man In Uniform" was Gang Of Four's Village People moment.

Even one more thing: Allmusic.com claims GOF influenced Naked Raygun. No, Frigging, Way.


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