'Return The Gift' is a compilation of the finest moments of the legendary post-punk band Gang Of Four. Rather than just releasing a straight 'Best Of...' record, the band have chosen to re-record some of their best-known tracks, and have also invited acts such as The Yeah Yeah Yeah's and Hot Hot Heat to remix their material, often with stunning results. Includes new versions of 'At Home He's A Tourist' and 'To Hell With Poverty'.
If 2005's RETURN THE GIFT were an album of completely brand new songs, it would likely be hailed as one of the best rock records in decades. However, since U.K. post-punk heroes Gang of Four first committed this material to vinyl in the late 1970s and early '80s, these re-recorded tracks, while excellent in their own right, come across more like a surprise visit from an admirably trim uncle.
Make no mistake, these are some of the group's finest tracks, and the reunited original line-up sounds great. However, while Gang of Four was charmingly restless and angular on its initial outings, the quartet, for better or worse, is confident and loose on this set, which essentially serves as an updated version of the best-of collection A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 20TH CENTURY. In fact, RETURN shares much of that anthology's track list, including the blistering disco-punk classic "To Hell with Poverty" and the supremely funky "I Love a Man in Uniform," which ditches the prominent female backing vocals here. Although this album may seem, well, re-gifted to Gang of Four diehards, it serves as a useful bridge to the past for fans of Franz Ferdinand, the Futureheads, and other early-2000s acts clearly influenced by this pioneering band.
Formed in 1978, the Gang of Four came from Leeds, England, with sharp, political lyrics and a cutting, angular sound that mixed post-punk guitar with funk rhythms. The relative artiness of their early work put them in a class with aesthetes like Wire, but they later upped the danceability quotient to appeal to a larger audience, scoring their biggest success with the surprisingly catchy single "I Love a Man in a Uniform." During the post-punk revival of the early 2000's, the band, long since disbanded, came back into favour as a key influence, and briefly reformed for a U.S. tour and an album.
1. To Hell With Poverty
2. Damaged Goods
3. Natural's Not in It
4. Not Great Men
5. Why Theory
8. What We All Want
10. He'd Send In The Army
12. I Love A Man In Uniform
13. At Home He's A Tourist
14. We Live As We Dream Alone
1. To Hell With Poverty [Go Home Productions remix]
2. Natural's Not In It [Ladytron remodel]
3. I Love A Man In Uniform [Yeah Yeah Yeah's remix]
4. Ether [into the ether Tony Kanal remix]
5. At Home He's A Tourist [The Others remix]
6. Not Great Men [Phones extended version]
7. Anthrax [Faultline remix]
8. Damaged Goods [Hot Hot Heat remix]
9. Why Theory [Amusement Parks On Fire remix]
10. Natural's Not In It [repackaged by The Rakes]
11. At Home He's A Tourist [The Others' alternate mix]
12. What We All Want [Dandy Warhols remix]