Review Summary: This isn't a reserved Gang of Four, just slightly more confident and focused.
Post-Punk in its early heyday seemed to have a masterful look with its cynicism and visceral look on modern politics, being that it captured the very essence of its recklessness to attack all things norm. Gang of Four were no different. Their debut Entertainment!
provided a soundtrack to the political atmosphere at the time and can even be used today as a statement, from the politician hitting "I Found The Essence Rare" to the consumer-hungry in "Natural's Not In It". The subsequent release of their second album shows King & co. still have a few things to say. Although Solid Gold
still follows its past, they only do so lyrically. Entertainment!
's fragmented, jumpy, almost frantic vocal and instrumental eruptions were easily tolerable and practically made a sound that other post-punk bands wouldn't dare to approach, but Solid Gold
feels different in a noticeable way.
While their sophomore effort feels more tightly wound then their debut, it still as effective because the sarcastic perspective of the band is always extremely provocative and intelligent. The evidence lays right before us on the opening track. The rhythm within "Paralysed" isn't as anxious or at unrest like in Entertainment!
, instead it seems Gang of Four have opted to use this constructed structure to help move along the album with the bread and butter of post-punk: bass heavy driven songs. Not to say they didn't do so previously, but not with this much emphasize or even spotlight. Still, it doesn't quite add up to an entirely different feeling. The guitar still loves to sprawl and rear its head in energetic and unsuspecting ways, but what still makes us want more is Jon King's enamored voice that hooks you in every track.
If there is a bewildered band out there that coincide with a punk or post-punk sound, on what they should 'be' it usually treads in two directions: political affairs revolving around religion and the social state or a gloomy vibe that discusses death and love in more ways than one. The latter would be more akin to Joy Division fans and while Ian Curtis did more than well with what he wrote, most bands after his death enjoyed a more centralized political to socio-economic commentary (post-punk more-so). We get the genuine mocking of American fast-food consumerism with the aptly named "Cheeseburger" on here that is sure to give as many smiles as smirks. We find Solid Gold
not so much as a crossroads between a new direction of sound or focus on lyrical substance, but more so they've just toned down from their debut.
may be the staple for bands in the decades that followed, but Solid Gold
remains to be Gang of Four at their most comfortable musically. Not needing a frenzied approach to hook you in the song whether it be from King's remarks or Andy Gill's guitar flare-ups that seem to cease in the latter half of the album. There are still those moments
we are so accustomed too from their previous gem, those guitar crunches, those cynical perspectives and various odd-sounding samples seeping through, just not as much.