Gang Of Four - Entertainment! | RECORD STORE DAY

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The most shocking thing about this beautifully packaged reissue of the debut by the best Marxist rock band can be found among the bonus tracks. There it is, perched right at the end: not just a cover of "Sweet Jane," but a version that ends with the group gushing thanks to the audience for coming out to hear them. On Gang of Four's recent reunion tour, the band barely spoke between songs, much less beseeched the crowd, but when "Sweet Jane" was taped, they were (audibly) still figuring out their musical style. By the time they recorded Entertainment! in 1979, they'd found it, all right.

On the surface, that sound is punishing-Andy Gill's guitar slices straight lines in the air while Dave Allen's bass and Hugo Burnham's drums turn James Brown into a speed freak, and Jon King doesn't sing so much as lecture his lyrics about love as commodity, everyday life as commodity, and commodities as commodities. But they were a punk band playing disco, meaning you get two pleasures for the price of one. They also sounded angry at both genres, meaning you get a different sort of tension-they inherently criticize the pleasure they provide. As they put it themselves, "Two steps forward/ Six steps back." But even the backsteps gathered here are worth hearing.