Gang of Four. Happy Now.

With a history for ironic album titles, as well as a genuine belief in the positive power of society, ‘Happy Now’ could be interpreted in an almost infinite number of ways.  On reflection, ‘Happy Now’ most likely provides us with two core ‘ways’ to be interpreted; happy sounding pop songs and an unhappiness at the state of the world.   Known for their core punk rock values of challenging the musical and social traditions, ‘Happy’ sees the Gang, mostly, in the search for interesting pop hooks (‘Lucky’, ‘Toreador’) and ‘light’ industrial/electronic soundscapes (‘Change The Locks’, ‘One True Friend’) a combined sound which makes the album immediately accessible and, well, soft on the outside.  The inside, as expected, remains the core of a band, still hard, still full of danger; the titles “Ivanka:’My name’s on it’” and “White lies”, as well as the central lyric to recent single “Paper Thin” (“Everything was sorted but now it’s all paper thin”) providing such evidence.  Whether or not they are happy, listeners will be.