Gang of Four
Content (Yep Roc)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Jan. 28, 2011
Gang of FourContent (Yep Roc)
If 1979's Entertainment! weren't already a cardinal point in rock history, it would be tempting to say that Gang of Four have equaled it with Content. While such an assessment is contextually impossible, this surprising new LP trounces the Leeds-born quartet's post-1983 output along with most everything unleashed by their millennial spawn. New drummer Mark Heaney and bassist Thomas McNeice deserve much of the credit for revitalizing the herky-jerky rhythms that humanize vocalist Jon King's staccato polemics. Moreover, Andy Gill's freshly snipped guitar jabs have never been sharper or more resonant. Peaks are pointedly hot, and Content's unfinished texture is a broadside against studio sterility. Maintaining a relentless tempo throughout, "You'll Never Pay for the Farm" takes a post-punk swipe at the invisible hand's spanking machine, while "Who Am I?" salvages a Motown beat to lament the conflation of individuality and lifestyle. The slo-mo creep of "It Was Never Gonna Turn Out Too Good" encapsulates the desperation of being stuck on the wrong side of neoliberal determinism in pronouncements such as, "I never called the shots and I know that's my lot." If there's a salve to Content's foreboding political mood, it's that Gang of Four is still far too prescient for the nostalgia ghetto.