Some of the most powerful, energized, and memorable music of the U.K.'s potent post-punk era of the late '70s and early '80s came from the trailblazing band Gang of Four, and it all started with 1979's stellar Entertainment! Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, and Jon King fused punk, funk, explosive prog-rock, and literate and often incendiary lyrics into a signature, groundbreaking sound that would influence countless bands to come. The original album's brilliant 12 tracks are now remastered and bolstered with four tracks from the rare Yellow EP, plus four never-before-released-songs-making this watershed disc sound bigger and better than ever. Warner. 2005.
The same year American college students and FM radio stations found hipness in the Clash's "Train in Vain," a quartet of students from England's Leeds University calling themselves Gang of Four released their debut album. Politically charged and pumped full of extremist theories and punk rock vehemence (and now out of print since 1997), Entertainment
continues to rank among the most critically acclaimed and influential records of the post-punk epoch it helped to define. The record is funkified by stop-start rhythms and sharp vocals that mimic Joe Strummer's sing-to-shout shifts, a sound that has turned up in the music of a quarter-century of bands, from the Minutemen to Fugazi. The original 12-song track list--including the vehement slam on media and politics "I Found That Essence Rare" and the punk passion play "Damaged Goods"--is reinforced with all four songs from the band's 1980 EP Yellow
, as well as four others never-before-released, including a live cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane." --Scott Holter