Album Review: Gang of Four – “What Happens Next”

Gang of Four
What Happens Next

On the album, as on the band’s 2013 tour dates, founding guitarist and songwriter Andy Gill has constructed a new Gang of Four: John Gaoler Sterry on vocals, Thomas McNiece on bass, and Jonny Finnegan on drums. A definite look back with a lot of modern sound makes for a mixed bag that mostly works and will please fans, and get the curious to take a listen.

The album starts off with a ton of great songs, “Where the Nightingale Sings,” “Broken Talk (ft. Alison Mosshart),” “Obey the Ghost,” and “England s in My Bones (ft. Alison Mosshart).” These songs are exactly what I was hoping the band would come out with, tight playing, great vocals and the essence of what makes the band so loved, the groove that never quits. Sadly the next two songs do nothing for me at all, “The Dying Rays (ft. Herbert Gronemeyer)” reminds me of a ‘90s Bowie track that sounded like he was trying to be hip to hard…those awful industrial songs that he was doing back then, and “Isle of Dogs,” which keeps the mediocre going with noise and female vocals adding nothing to the song. Things pick up after that and start to get back on track to right things and make this one of the better albums that they’ve put out.

While not being a complete victory, the pluses definitely outweigh the minuses and bring back the feel of the ‘80s, but keep things in the modern world. A group that has been an influence to innumerable artists since 1977, and still will be an influence going into the future. (Rick Ecker)

Purchase What Happens Next here.

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