Gang Of Four – Entertainment! (1979)

AllMusic Review: Entertainment! is one of those records where germs of influence can be traced through many genres and countless bands, both favorably and unfavorably. From groups whose awareness of genealogy spreads wide enough to openly acknowledge Gang of Four’s influence (Fugazi, Rage Against the Machine), to those not in touch with their ancestry enough to realize it (rap-metal, some indie rock) — all have appropriated elements of their forefathers’ trailblazing contribution. Its vaguely funky rhythmic twitch, its pungent, pointillistic guitar stoccados, and its spoken/shouted vocals have all been picked up by many. Lyrically, the album was apart from many of the day, and it still is. The band rants at revisionist history in “Not Great Men” (“No weak men in the books at home”), self-serving media and politicians in “I Found That Essence Rare” (“The last thing they’ll ever do?/Act in your interest”), and sexual politics in “Damaged Goods” (“You said you’re cheap but you’re too much”). Though the brilliance of the record thrives on the faster material — especially the febrile first side — a true highlight amongst highlights is the closing “Anthrax,” full of barely controlled feedback squalls and moans. It’s nearly psychedelic, something post-punk and new wave were never known for. With a slight death rattle and plodding bass rumble, Jon King equates love with disease and admits to feeling “like a beetle on its back.” In the background, Andy Gill speaks in monotone of why Gang of Four doesn’t do love songs. Subversive records of any ilk don’t get any stronger, influential, or exciting than this. — Andy Kellman

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Ether” 3:52
2. “Natural’s Not in It” 3:09
3. “Not Great Men” 3:08
4. “Damaged Goods” 3:29
5. “Return the Gift” 3:08
6. “Guns Before Butter” 3:49
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “I Found That Essence Rare” 3:09
2. “Glass” 2:32
3. “Contract” 2:42
4. “At Home He’s a Tourist” 3:33
5. “5.45” 3:48
6. “Anthrax” 4:23



Schill Score: 8/10


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