WHO ARE THEY? The legendary British post-punk survivors who first formed in 1976, borrowed their handle from a Chinese political faction, and gave the world slashing, sharp-angled classics like Anthrax, At Home He’s A Tourist, Damaged Goods, Natural’s Not In It and I Love A Man In Uniform.
WHAT IS THIS? A five-track EP of re-recorded and retooled classics, reportedly completed shortly before the sudden, unexpected death of bandleader and guitarist Andy Gill on Feb. 1 due to complications from pneumonia.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Gill’s last testament — and no wonder. The disc begins with a recitation of the guitarist’s spoken-word musings from Anthrax, and ends with him chatting to his wife while walking in the park.
WHAT ARE THE MOST REVEALING LYRICS? “What I wanted disappears in the haze / A speck of dust held forever in the dying rays.”
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? The Dying Rays — one of the trio of songs reimagined here.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On repeat; with just three musical tracks, it’s over way too soon.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Nostalgic, cerebral, literate, tense, dark, muscular, sparse, sardonic, cynical, uncompromising.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The lively rendition of Natural’s Not In It, which first appeared on their illustrious 1979 debut Entertainment! and was apparently one of the few older tracks the band still performed live.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Full points for timeliness, but it doesn’t feel like much of a sendoff — hopefully there are more releases to come.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? A couple of times oughta do it.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A SALE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A flea market stocked with replicas of things you already own.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? There’s no need to steal from the dead. But unless you know the songs I listed up top, you can probably stick with the stream and put your money toward an anthology instead.