Written by Lisa Melograno
Treasured rock band, Gang of Four, releases their latest record, Anti Hero via Republic of Music, out now. Gang of Four has ignited audiences over the years with their energizing post-punk sound. The band has extended their punk sound with various genres such as industrial music and neo-psychedelia and Avant-funk.
The Gang of Four style of post-punk has been emulated by many bands throughout the years. Anti Hero is a memorialization to the late Andy Gill, the lead guitarist, and mastermind of the group. The four surviving members include singer John Sterry, bassist Thomas McNeice and drummer Tobias Humble along with Andy’s widow, Catherine Mayer.
The remaining members and Mayer have united to honor him and raise funds for Guy‘s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, the hospital in London that worked so hard trying to save his life. The EP’s artwork is a portrait of Andy Gill created by Shepard Fairey as a tribute after his death on February 1, 2020. Shepard is known for creating the iconic ‘Hope’ poster for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign.
Anti Hero is a collaboration of two new songs, “Forever Starts Now” and “Day Turns to Night” and updated versions of “Change the Lock” and “Glass.” The EP’s title takes its name from the first single “Forever Starts Now” released on May 29, and written by Andy Gill and John Sterry while Andy was in the hospital earlier this year.
“Hero” was the original working title of the track. John explains the lyrics depict, “a character who sees himself as the hero of his own life and manipulates his partner into supporting this fantasy. The line, ‘She sings along with his song / she thinks it’s like having the radio on…’ always brings a wry smile.”
“Forever Stars Now” has the angular guitar riffs, synthesizers and upbeat beats reminiscent of Gang of Four‘s style. Matched with John Sterry‘s pop like vocals Gang of Four‘s familiar edgy lyrics, “Forever Starts Now” will impress and stimulate both old and new fans.
“Day Turns To Night” is the second single off the extended play. It is John Sterry’s first solo artist project, styled as JJ Sterry, written days after Andy‘s death.
“I had no intention of it being about him,” says John. “It just came out that way and also I didn’t intend for it to be released. I often cloak lyrics with ambiguity and this felt too raw. But listening now, I’m glad I wrote it with no thought of where it might go—it’s just a pure distillation of the years I’d spent with Andy and the band.” Lyrically, “Day Turns To Night” is a solemn accolade to Andy Gill. Although lyrically, it seems somber, there is a feeling of hope with upbeat synth-pop post-punk melodies.
Anti Hero features revitalized versions of two classics, “Change the Locks” and “Glass.”
“Both tracks were completed at the time of Andy’s death, yet both have incredible resonances for these lock downtimes,” says John. “His ability to write songs that remain relevant was unparalleled.” The compilation of old and new tracks are fitting for Anti Hero while introducing John Sterry’s first solo artist project and for Andy Gill, the legendary post-punk icon that has remained constant and innovative throughout his 40 years with Gang Of Four.
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