The New Song and Dance
England’s late-’70s/early-’80s post-punk quasi-political art rockers Gang Of Four may have been relegated to the annals of rock’s ancient history — sort of a footnote between “Anarchy in the UK” and “Planet Earth” — but their influence, along with that of fellow Brits like the Buzzcocks and the Jam, occasionally invades the sound of a modern band that didn’t necessarily grow up on their records. The members of Radio 4 seem too young to have heard “I Found That Essence Rare” or “At Home He’s a Tourist” back when they were spinning on the local college radio station, but the chiming, staccato guitars and pleasantly atonal vocals permeating The New Song and Dance hint at the close proximity of a very cool older sibling or uncle with a decent vinyl record collection. Radio 4 employ a stripped-down approach to creating cerebrally vital avant-pop, and every song is like a breath of fresh air in a vacuum. If you can resist doing the herky-jerky along to the frantic beats and amazing sense of urgency bursting from “How the Stars Got Crossed” or “New Motive,” I don’t want to know you.
Gern Blandsten, P.O. Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661; http://www.gernblandsten.com