Top critical review
A Bad Start From A Good Band (redone)
on 17 May 2011
This was my original review:
"Entertainment!" gained a large following for the Gang Of Four, but maybe it was not the one that should have. Although energetic and laid-back, the album lacks enough thought and effort to impress more than just the band's following.
While a few tracks do impress, this is not an album for introducing people to punk.
I admit I should have put more detail into my reviews, so sorry about that.
What people generally see in this album is that the lyrics evoke a political or social tone about the society of the late 70s. These lyrics are riddled with backing vocals that shout lyrics unrelated to any social point or to the lead vocals themselves. Many lyrics make no sense: "please send me evenings and weekends" repeated over ten times. Little effort is placed in actual tone or harmony, and so the "singer" instead talks or shouts his way through lyrics. While some lines shine through well-spoken, there is always an empty space that needs filling by a proper vocalist.
These empty spaces are all too common, though. When the singer is not speaking lyrics, the rest of the band offer a bland backdrop of uninteresting noise. The drummer shows a Ringo Starr-level of skill, with riffs barely changing throughout most songs. While I admit there are exceptions, the drumming does not shine through enough to help the band. The bassist is always present yet offering nothing either. As the singer appears the main focus point of the band, the empty spaces are filled with occasional notes by the bassist, rather than full-fledged riffs. Therefore there is nothing interesting about the empty spaces, of which there are many, and the input they put in is minimal.
The lack of skill in guitar is also shown, but thankfully not emphasised. The guitarist understands his ability and so does not overdo any tracks, the exception being "Anthrax," a track that would sound much more pleasant without the distorted guitar interrupting the flow of the already pointless track.
All in all, the band had a crude sound, but none of them were able to shine at this point. This is why I believe their EP a year later was their better sound, as while the spaces were still there, the band was more close-knit, giving energetic choruses on songs like "Armalite Rifle."
I do not take popularity or "classic status" into account, and so I believe I have made my point and opinion clear.