Andy Gill is gone but Gang of Four lives on. At least on this four-track EP. The followup to this spring’s This Heaven Gives Me Migraine EP features another of the guitarist’s final compositions — complete with his signature guitar angles and sonic attack — plus a posthumous tribute ballad from the band’s current singer John Sterry and decent if somewhat inessential reworkings of two previously released oldies. As sendoffs go, it’s certainly well-intentioned enough, albeit a little slight in the content department. Fingers crossed there’s more left in the vault. Or at least a more substantial tribute in the works.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “The surviving members of Gang of Four, singer John Sterry, bassist Thomas McNeice and drummer Tobias Humble, have joined with Andy Gill’s widow Catherine Mayer to celebrate Andy through music — and in raising funds for St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, the London hospital that tried so hard to save his life earlier this year. Forever Starts Now, a brand new Gang of Four track written by Andy and John, was released as the first single on May 29. Its original working title was Hero, a reference, John explains, to the lyrics about “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.” The EP takes its title Anti Hero from the single and to reflect Andy’s lifelong mistrust of narratives around supposedly great men. “Andy always had a healthy scepticism about celebrity culture and populist politicians,” says Catherine. “And he could always spot when someone was blowing smoke.” She adds: “Even so, he would be moved and delighted that artists he loved and admired have come together to celebrate him by launching this EP and for such a good cause.”