Sound Advice: Gang of Four with The New Regime and Evening Redness

Tuesday • 20th Century Theater

click to enlarge Gnag of Four
Gnag of Four

Let’s get it out of the way at the start — Gang of Four’s 1979 debut, Entertainment, is among the landmark albums of the last 40 years, a politically charged, sonically angular slap in the face that remains as visceral as the day it surfaced. It went on to influence everyone from R.E.M. and Nirvana to St. Vincent and just about every groove-oriented Post Punk outfit in recent memory, whether they know it or not.

The quartet — bassist Dave Allen, drummer Hugo Burnham, guitarist Andy Gill and vocalist Jon King — formed in 1977 in Leeds, England, and went on to release a string of records through the early 1980s, each driven by Gill’s terse guitar playing, a deft, swinging rhythm section and King’s clipped vocals.

After breaking up, Gill and King returned minus the irreplaceable Allen and Burnham for 1991’s synth-driven Mall; the singer and guitarist teamed up to put out two more records — 1995’s Shrinkwrapped and 2011’s surprisingly strong Content — before King called it a day.

But Gill wasn’t ready to stop, reforming a whole new Gang with various contributors on vocals (including The Kills’ Alison Mosshart). The resulting album, this year’s What Happens Next, is an atmospheric, curiously moody affair that bears some resemblance to the band’s roots, but stands on its own as a new phase in Gill’s unyielding need to create new music.

“He just kind of said he didn’t want to do it,” Gill said of Allen’s departure in an interview with Spin. “So I mean, not working with him has presented some difficulties. I think you have to be all in or not. You have to desire to create songs and to write and to record them. It’s what I do. It’s what I love to do.”

Here's a clip from the new GoF album, followed by an older classic:

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