Gang Of Four – Return The Gift (2005)

Gang Of Four is one of the original pioneers of the British punk rock scene in Leeds, England. Featuring the original band members of singer Jon King, drummer Hugo, guitarist Andy Gill and bass guitarist Dave Allen, GoF returns with Return The Gift — a new re-imagined compilation comprised of songs from the band’s earlier works.

The album is very polished and owes to the wonderful advancements of almost 30 years of recording technology. Although for punk music, the rough qualities inherent to less-than-stellar recording equipment added to the rhythms and sounds. The scratches and hisses created an aura of live authenticity that made listening to Iggy Pop or The Sex Pistols lifelike.

But, one can’t fault GoF for taking advantage of modern technology to make its music cleaner and crisper; the song “What We All Want” hasn’t sounded better and the intricacies of the guitar’s melodies wouldn’t be so audible or smooth. GoF has had a tremendous impact on contemporary post-punk/new wave bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes. “We Live As We Dream, Alone” is the perfect transitionary track to balance the offbeat rugged nature of classic punk with the fluid melodies of today’s music.

Return The Gift couldn’t have been better timed. Punk music was founded on the anti-establishment and with the war in Iraq, never has there been a greater need for cultural and social critique. From the politically charged “He’d Send The Army” and “Ether” to the capitalism condemning “To Hell With Poverty” and “Natural’s Not In It,” Gang Of Four defines punk — both musically and thematically. Welcome back, we needed you.

Gang Of Four

[photo via RCRDLBL]

Track list:

    1. To Hell With Poverty
    2. Damaged Goods
    3. Natural’s Not In It
    4. Not Great Men
    5. Why Theory?
    6. Anthrax
    7. Paralysed
    8. What We All Want
    9. Ether
    10. He’d Send The Army
    11. Capital
    12. I Love A Man In Uniform
    13. At Home He’s A Tourist
    14. We Live As We Dream, Alone

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