More than two decades after packing it in, these agitprop masters decided to reunite for some live gigs, sinking their teeth into the cream of their original sonic crop. Fired up by the response, the foursome decided to take the unusual step of revisiting their still-inspiring back catalog on this disc of newly recorded versions. These Go4 staples still resonate every bit as fiercely, both musically and topically, as they did at the turn of the '80s. That timelessness can be attributed in part to the circular motion of world politics: The shout-along verses of "To Hell with Poverty," which contain the line "in this land, right now / some are insane and they're in charge," are as valid in Bush-era America as they were in Thatcher-era Britain. The band's remarkably prescient fusion of angular, sometimes atonal guitar riffing and unshakably booty-moving rhythms, however, is even more indelible. At times -- as on a slowed, noticeably slinkier version of "Capital (It Fails Us Now)" -- the quartet's reworkings are fairly radical. Other tracks, such as the bared-teeth consumerist diatribe "Damaged Goods," stick to the original blueprint a bit more closely, but there are still surprises to be found. Delving beneath the surface has always been paramount in appreciating Gang of Four's aesthetic, whether in deciphering the separate vocal tracks that stream from competing speakers on "Anthrax" or pondering the philosophical dilemmas of "Why Theory?" Yes, it's a little more work than listening to your average punk screed, but it ultimately rewards -- through both the mental and physical gymnastics it demands.
|Label:||V2 North America|