Gang of Four 

Return the Gift (V2)

"Repackage sex/Keep your interest," chanted vocalist Jon King and guitarist Andy Gill on Gang of Four's slashing 1979 debut, Entertainment! A quarter-century later, the middle-aged pair chant it again on this set of re-recorded classics, all performed without a hint of irony -- even though Gang of Four's punk-funk blueprint for avant-garde party-building has been transmuted into today's hottest soundtrack for bohemian partying down. Six of Return's tracks are available domestically in their original form on the recently reissued Entertainment!, and all fourteen are contained in one early form or another on two excellent and thematically complementary anthologies, A Brief History of the 20th Century and 100 Flowers Bloom. Yet compare that historical record to these shorter, messier, brighter versions, and this set stands as a closer approximation of the band's unsprung live power, both then and now. In short, these versions don't defile the historical record -- they defy history's ravages.

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