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Classic of the Week

Gang of Four, "Entertainment!" (1979), Infinite Zero/American

March 16, 1995|JON MATSUMOTO

In the mid-to-late '70s, punk rock and disco represented entirely different musical and social philosophies. Punk was abrasive and anarchic in sound and attitude; disco was about a party-'til-you-drop dance groove and mind-set.

"Entertainment!," Gang of Four's critically acclaimed but commercially ignored debut album, represented one of the first truly inspired marriages between these two forms. The Gang created its own, unique, multifaceted dance-rock sound that appealed to the hearts, minds, souls and feet of its followers.

The vocal and instrumental thrust of "Entertainment!" is as inescapable as it is distinctive. The music varies considerably from the tightly wound "Ether" to the catchy and highly danceable "Damaged Goods" to the feedback laden, art-noise track "Anthrax."

Guitarist Andy Gill and singer Jon King, the group's founders and leaders, certainly were brainier than most of their contemporaries. They specialized in intellectual, anti-Establishment lyrics that invited thought and examination.

"Entertainment!" was an apt, somewhat ironic title for an album that not only entertained but informed and inspired. A just released CD version also includes the Gang's "Yellow" EP from 1980--a hard-to-beat package available on a limited basis.

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