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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Most Innovative Albums Of Its Era
I must admit I had not listened to my vinyl version of this stunning 1979 debut album from Leeds band (although band members actually hailed from elsewhere, having only gone to Leeds university) Gang Of Four for well over 20 years (slapped wrist!), until I recently heard Marc Riley playing some of their stuff. Of course, listening again, I am reminded that Messrs. King,...
Published 1 month ago by Keith M

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing then and now
I bought this the week it was originally released. Initially I was disappointed with it. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, but it had none of the danger and excitement of the first EP (on Fast Records - check out the fantastic Armalite Rifle), the single At Home He Feels Like A Tourist, not to mention how great they were live at the back end of the 1970's. Even...
Published on 15 Dec 2010 by neumatic


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Most Innovative Albums Of Its Era, 13 Nov 2014
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
I must admit I had not listened to my vinyl version of this stunning 1979 debut album from Leeds band (although band members actually hailed from elsewhere, having only gone to Leeds university) Gang Of Four for well over 20 years (slapped wrist!), until I recently heard Marc Riley playing some of their stuff. Of course, listening again, I am reminded that Messrs. King, Gill, Allen and Burnham produced one of the most intoxicating and (particularly, rhythmically) innovative albums of the period – Gill’s guitar sound borrowing particularly from Wilko Johnson (viz. songs such as Natural’s Not In It, Damaged Goods, I Found That Essence Rare, etc), although I would argue Gill used the basic 'Wilko sound’ to develop a very distinctive personal style (one that influenced a number of modern players – not least Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy). In addition, then, to sounding like a 'punkified and rhythmically complex Dr Feelgood on acid’, I can also detect elements of the likes of Wire (with whom Gang Of Four shared their loose 'Situationist’ take on life), XTC, (elements of) Joy Division and (in terms of the clarity/sparseness of the instrument sound/production) even Television.

Of course, the band (and lyricists King and Gill, in particular) were noted (in the songs) for their politicisation of ‘everyday life’ (shopping, love/sex, watching TV, etc) and Entertainment! (itself an hilariously ironic title) is shot through with the politics and social commentary of the day (Northern Ireland, guerrilla warfare, duplicitous politicians, social alienation, etc), although, of course, thinking about it, nothing has really changed in the intervening 35 years and 5.45’s tale of media sensationalisation and personalisation of war dead is even more relevant in today’s world of blanket 24-hour news coverage. Regardless, however, of the band’s political convictions, Entertainment! provides an exhilarating set of (essentially) dance numbers (yes, honestly) – although, the album’s crowning glory (and probably the most distinctive mark of the band’s great originality), the likening of love obsession to ‘a case of’ Anthrax, with its mix of feedback and funk, would prove challenging even for the most dedicated dancefloor maestro. If, like me, you have the vinyl album gathering dust in the loft I recommend you unearth it immediately!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Funk???!, 29 April 2007
This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Is there a less appealing musical term than `white funk'? The phrase conjures up any number of appalling possibilities, but that's exactly what `Entertainment!' is. And it's a fantastic album - perhaps the definitive post-punk LP.

Musically, `Entertainment!' melds elements of punk, funk, rock, and dub. The bass sound is much more prominent than in most `white' albums of the time to create a curiously uptight, precisely-drilled form of punk/funk - a long way from the seemingly loose-limbed sound of Black America patented by James Brown.

Lyrically, the album is fascinating. Could any other album give a critique on the Marxist concept of alienated labour (as `Entertainment!' does in `Natural's Not In It') and remain so listenable? And songs like `Love Like Anthrax' and `Damaged Goods' reject commonly accepted opinions of love, romance, and marriage - describing it as `a contract in our mutual interest'. Not true, but interesting nonetheless.

And, if you should buy one album on CD rather than via download, make sure it's this one: the artwork highlights a number of social assumptions that the band wish to challenge (sample: `the police act impartially to defend the rights of a minority group'). They don't state that these assumptions are wrong; just that they should be questioned. If only more LPs would give such credit to the intelligence of the listener.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best, 10 Feb 2004
By 
A. Skudder (Crawley, West Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Whenever anyone asks me what is my favourite record, I have no hesitation in saying Entertainment! by The Gang Of Four, it really is that good.
I am not someone who is living in the past and clinging to it, I still buy all the latest stuff and would love to find something that grabs me by the throat the way this album does. The closest anything has come is Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik by the Red Hot Chillis, which brings us back to this particular CD, because this is a re-issue which I bought to replace my over-played vinyl original, and inside the sleeve is a note from Flea saying how this album is "what shaped the sound of the rookie Red Hot Chilli Peppers." Michael Stipe also says in the sleeve notes "I Stole a lot from them."
The later Gang of Four albums had their moments, but this one is all highlights from beginning to end. Everything just came together: the bass and drums give a solid and beat-perfect core to the sound and the guitars and vocals can only be described as scary. I saw the Gang play live years after their prime, with a replacement drummer and bassist but Andy Gill and Jon King were still as intense as ever. For me the magic is all about that juxtaposition of absolute, pounding, rhythm and stabbing, almost random at times, guitar and then those intense vocals over the top. And those angry, anti-establishment lyrics which struck such a chord in Thatcher's Britain are still relevent in today's world of anti-globalisation demonstrations.
The three bonus tracks on this re-issue are nearly as good as the main album and the only complaint I could have is that the track Armalite rifle was not included as well.
Even after all these years, Entertainment! still gives me two great pleasures. One is in listening to it (obviously) and the other is in introducing it to someone who has not heard it before and seeing their reaction.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evisceratingly innovative, 14 April 2006
This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Looking back a quarter of a century, it's obvious now that with the preceding "Damaged Goods" EP (on the independent Fast label) and this album The Gang of Four were the most incisive and complete of Britain's post-punk, highly politicised groups. Perhaps only The Au Pairs came close to matching them.

The Gang of Four at this time were a heady, dancing and shattering mix; trenchant political lyrics, funk or reggae basslines coupled with propulsive drum patterns and dissonant, shearing, tearing guitar. The themes of alienation, dehumanising consumerism and political manipulation running through the words merged perfectly with their insistent sonic assault, producing a fitting soundtrack to the times and one of the most accomplished debut albums ever. I was fortunate enough to catch them just before it was released and "Entertainment!" also captures the potency of their live performance.

Unfortunately, the situationist subversion they intended by signing to EMI instead seemed to neuter The Gang of Four; not much they did after this was as good. However, this album is, along with Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" and The Au Pairs' "Playing With A Different Sex", an indispensable document of music in late 70s/early 80s Britain. It is "Entertainment!".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Deviation, 16 Aug 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Hard edged metallic punk welded into bristling cutting guitar sparks ripped to the shape of abstract funk. Over the top with bayonet ready, were neo Marxist critiques of the banality of every day life. Not for GO4 the sterile debates of Milliband v Poulantzas, the angels on a pin head debates stultifying social sciences in sterile paralyis in the early 80's. The themes deal with the problems of relationships, leisure and work where everything is consumed, masticated and belched out in physical processes. The alienation was loud and not proud "At home he's a tourist," alienation at work "Naturals not in it," alienated leisure "return the gift," the power of the state "Ether"

GO4 harnessed academic theories of alienation; Situationism, Lukacs, Gramsci and Lefebvre making them into practical themes The topics of everyday life arise; the alienated semi consciousness of love, sex lust, fulfillment, dreams and power.

Whilst funk rapped about the smell of musk, the power of love pumping to the beat, GO4 pointed out the inculcated innante need to compete in fake orgasms with as partners, all consumed as a marker of the man. Whilst the mainstream ignored erectile dysfunction, ugly bodies and the desire to escape in the morning GO4 confronted it.

Making connections in lust in brief moments of infatuation. When the daylight poured in, the sweet kiss turns to sour breath, the bodies exposed and a quick exit beaten to the door a night promising so much turns to dust. GO4 nailed the lie behind the daydream, the antidote to love to love you baby; "Damaged Goods."

The pull of comsumer items to make everyone satiated is net. Buy buy to be be. The consumerist treadmill rolled just as Reagonomics blasted itself into a big cosmic bang, the next stage in hyper real captialism after the 45 victory. The new item which promised so much was sitting at a car boot sale 6 months later, sitting in obsolescence.

Perpetually jaded until the money poured in they joined in with the alienated consumers through immersion. The music evapourated just as they predicted into vapid alienated consumption. They attempted to capture the American market with watered down junk clunk.

Lost in music, this pounds scythes, rasps, bangs, hitting the nervous system and the brain. Whilst Oi rolled off into right wing labour flag kissing with BNP sub currents, fops with synths bleated the language of the new blue sky victory. GO4 drove a tank between them, a 3 year course rolled into an album.

Alienated consumerism, crashed in 2008, the larger drop into the deeper chasm will occur as the resources are finite. Now after the first tsunami has cleared GO4 are suddenly more relevant than ever, their stance justified wholesale with no deviation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sign of the times...., 4 April 2009
By 
Mr. S. J. Whitehead (Bolton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
I bought this after winning a copy of the poorly-received 'Hard' album in a CD bundle. I had read a lot of very positive reviews about G.O.F. in Q magazine over the years but had never took the plunge into the unchartered waters of purchasing anything. Well i thank the radio station that selected Hard as one of the prizes, as this has consequently opened my ears to a band that, in their fledgling years were as edgy and groundbreaking in the late 70's as Nirvana were, say, in the 90's. The songs staunch political lyrics bleed through the sometimes uneasy, but always thrilling musical skin, revealing a sense of despair but defiance at the plight of the times. Go on. Give it a whirl. You don't have to win Hard.
SJW 2009
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A twisted form of entertainment, 24 Oct 2004
By 
Ted Maul "Ted Maul" (Cowsick) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Gang Of Four's Entertainment!,their debut album,has,like other albums of 1979- Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, PiL's Metal Box,and Talking Heads' Fear Of Music,to name a few-not dated at all,and has been a valuable influence on any number of genuinely great bands-R.E.M,Jane's Addiction,Fugazi/Minor Threat (And arguably many other Dischord bands),The Rapture,etc.
Entertainment! is one of the few LPs to be released that has no bad songs.A few random highlights? Opener Ether's talk of "dirt behind the daydream";At Home He's A Tourist's "two steps forward...Six steps back,six steps back...",the guitar playing,particularly on Return The Gift and Guns And Butter,the glorious anti-rockism displayed throughout,and perhaps most of all,the spectacularly bitter closer Anthrax.
This version of Entertainment! also features three bonus tracks,which surprisingly don't detract from the overall listening experience-in fact Outside The Trains Don't Run On Time is as good as the best of the original album.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal post-punk classic which revolutionised guitar music, 1 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
"Entertainment" was released in 1979, at the dawn of Thatcher's nightmare vision for England, and as the punk era had fizzled out from politicised and angry no-hopers to awful commercialised parodies such as Jilted John.
Fortunately, the Gang of Four were still angry, and ready to let the world know. "Entertainment" features such amazing jagged guitar parts from Andy Gill, passionate vocals from Jon King, as well as basslines which helped to shape alternative music in the 1980s.
The band gelled perfectly - King conveying intelligent Socialist statements through songs such as "I Found That Essence Rare" and the brilliant "5.45". The band also dealt with love, the searing "Damaged Goods" and revolutionary "Anthrax" testament to the group's range of social comment.
Gang of Four went on to release two songs banned from British radio - "I Love a Man in Uniform" and "To Hell With Poverty". Unsurprisingly, the album did not sell in huge numbers, British audiences preferring the safe, unchallenging sounds of the usual chart rubbish. This album is absolutely wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone sick to death of the cancerous state of music during the 1990s and early 21st century.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew I'd get what I asked for, 9 April 2001
By 
knowledeayton (Hereford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Gang Of Four influenced a generation of musicians ranging from US acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana to UK acts such as The Wedding Present and Big Flame...indeed, their sound (particularly the guitar- and bass-work of Messrs Gill and Allen) provided a template for innumerable British indie bands of the '80s.

Entertainment! is an awesome LP; every track is a gem, notably the timeless I Found That Essence Rare and the incendiary Anthrax, and its intelligent, socially aware lyrics put latter-day agit-pop rockers like Chumbawamba and the Levellers to shame.

Simply, a classic.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cranked-up inner city razor funk....to go!, 6 May 2000
This review is from: Entertainment (Audio CD)
Get a tighter than tight brick-outhouse as your drummer...Set him up with a white-guy who can play funk ,who isnt a messed-up jazz fusion fool...In the corner we have a wired,fret thrashing noise terrorist...and he's loud...To finish off,a ranting, all limbs flaying Marxist singer,and we have a startling group..Record them,and what we have is pure invention and intent..Truly original.They were more powerful live but on this debut they rarely sounded more together and finely honed.This machine kills Trad.Rock.
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Entertainment
Entertainment by Gang of Four (Audio CD - 1995)
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