Gung Ho

Gung Ho

Patti Smith reemerged in 1996 with Gone Again, reconnecting with her audience after years of domesticity, artistically dealing with the death of her husband, Fred “Sonic “Smith, and preparing herself for her next immersion in her often personal and political muse. Gung Ho is her third album since returning. Produced by Gil Norton, who handled the extreme dynamics of the Pixies, the album presents a very strong Patti Smith Group, guitarists Lenny Kaye and Oliver Ray combining for a weaving one-two punch that takes the music to new plateaus. The punk energy that fueled Smith’s earliest work finds its way into her vocal intonations and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty bonds with bassist Tony Shanahan to keep things tight and explosive. “Lo and Beholden” has a smooth lure to its chorus, but there’s a fierce tension simmering below the surface. Smith’s rock roots are brought out with Television’s Tom Verlaine’s punchy guitar on the anti-materialistic garage rock anthem “Glitter in Their Eyes,” and with the burbling upbeat bounce of “Persuasion.” Smith feeds off punk’s energy, yet never believed in its nihilistic worldview, making her music far more embracing in the process.

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