Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Gang of Four: Content [Yep Roc, 2011]
As they add the quaver of age to Andy Gill's slashes and modernize Jon King's animadversions with cellphone photos, comparison with the 20-year-old Mall quickly reveals how blessed the mainstays are in drummer Mark Heaney, who in the great tradition of Marky Ramone has both the musical sense to respect Hugo Burnham's simplicity and the historical savvy not to attempt an anachronistic replication. Since their consumerist analysis was never that deep and their self-doubt always had a self-aggrandizement to it, all these adjustments are welcome. In fact, my favorite song here is "A Fruitfly in the Beehive," which begins a quiet patch the original band would never have sat still for. It's not the only time they speak of repentance, for what I don't know--not some endorsement, I hope. Inspirational Verse: "Where are we headed for? For a distant shore? Or some brand new war/Don't know why i can't ask for more, don't walk out the door, what am I left here for?" A-