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July 09, 1980 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-07-09

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, July 9, 1980-Page 7

Gang of Four's modern dance

Gang of Four
Warner Bros. BSK 3446
- It's hard to think of many fitting ad-
jectives for The Gang of Four's Enter-
tainment! Most of, them haven't been
invented yet. Maybe after the war. With
warmania growing, though, Enter-
tainment! is an increasingly relevant
album. It may be reflective of the
downfall of another culture-the
British-but it is no less descriptive of
America's current hysteria. The Great
British Decline may be different from
ours in that they are trying to bow out
as gracefully as possible from this
madness while we continue to confront
and provoke it, eventually increasing
the retributions we are bound and
deserving to receive from history, but
the message is no less pertinent. The
Gang of Four know all this. They are
smarter than all of America combined.
It's there in their words and music.
The game's up. It's time for someone to
pay for all the injustices-of individuals
against other individuals, of business
against people, of nations against each
other. And The Gang is here to predict
the judgment.
SOME OF THE injustices they
describe are intentional, such as the
televised slaughter of "5.45." Other in-
justices are committed by default. as in
the viewer who serenely sips his tea
while the blood from the slaughter
flows out of his television. Unlike this
mildly disquieted viewer, Gang of Four
are intent on us realizing our part in the
horror of this slaughter and the horror
that we have been able to remove our-
selves from it in the past.
"Dig at the root of the problem
(fly the flag on foreign soil)
It breaks your new dreams
daily (H-bomb Long Kesh)
Fathers contradictions (Censor
six counties news)
And breaks your new dreams
daily (Each day more deaths)

The most important question that the
Gang ask is, "Why are you really doing
this?" Is it really in your interest or has
someone else convinced you that it's for
your own benefit?
"Five men lie, dieflat on their
Were they born to lie in state,
Defend the ever stagnant
Guerilla war struggle is the new
Now count the number of times you've
been told "What's good for Big
Business is good for America" and tell
me that Gang of Four doesn't have a
They don't pick easy targets, though.
It would be simple to attack one system
in favor of another, but The Gang point
out the inherent danger of systems
themselves. They hint that they may
agree with communism as a theory but
make it clear that they dispise it as a
reality. One by one, they let you know
that all of the things that you thought
were options, really aren't. Not
democracy, not communism, not anar-
chy. You're on your own.
their wrath, either.
"The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure
Coercion of the senses
We are not so gullible".
The Gang of Four are smart enough to
realize that nothing is "Good" or
"Bad," but everything is tainted with
both. They are perhaps the only group
to take seriously the philosophers'
argument that we are solely guided by
"We all have good intentions,
But all with strings
attached. "
By the end of Entertainment! they
even have you convinced that love
("Love") is after all just another clever
advertising campaign to get you to buy
All BEVERAGES e5ct E51

into the system. Ideal love a new pur-
chase. The only kind of love songs The
Gang of Four sing are love songs for a
disposable society-disposable
prophylactics, disposably guilt,
disposable partners.
The Gang of Four can't help but suc-
ceed in that by the end of the album you
are fulfilled with an unspeakable rage,
the only kind of anger that mat-
ters-absolutely pointless fury. For on-
ce and all they call the bluff on society's
contention that you shouldn't attack
something unless you have a better
suggestion to replace it. Gang of Four
reply that undirected anger and
destruction can have their own value.
could be dismissed by all of our
established intellectual- defense
mechanisms if The Gang of Four didn't
level their attacks just below that; they
communicate musically on an almost
primal level. (If you don't think that
that is a compliment then you've
missed the whole point of Entertain-
ment!). They realize that our minds are
more susceptible to their message
when our feet are busy, so they sub-
merge their content in the primal surge
of the Beat. Their very mastery of disco
and military beats shows conclusively
that they know how to use the enemy's
most effective tactics to get their own
message across.

The fact that each of the members of
Gang of Four is a consummate
musician is unavoidable. Few albums
of this decade have been as mercilessly
daneable as this one. The rhythm sec-
tion could beat Parliament/Funkadelic
at their own funk. The guitarist has ab-
solutely no sense of decency. The long
feedback intro to "Anthrax" would
bring both Ted Nugent and Jimi Hen-
drix to their knees cringing for mercy.
Their technical perfection would be
almost useless, though, without that
illusive Sense of music outside normal
conventions that they put to use so ef-
fectively. Few other artists have that
sense. Pink Floyd had it in the early
days. Eno has (or had) it. Wire have it.
So too now do Gang of Four. In many
ways, their "Anthrax" is comparable
to Wire's "A Touching Display" in its
musically visionary embodiment of ab-
solute terror and anarchy. Gang of
Four have perhaps even gone one step
further than Wire in making their ver-
sion of the apocalypse infinitely more
By now it should be clear that this
album was not made for
everyone ... but then again, neither
were feelings, honesty, or humanity.
Ask the Gang of Four. They know.
"Always thought life should
be so easy.
Seems that Ihave misunder-

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