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Gossip Music for Men Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Set to reinforce the band's reputation as a fierce rock 'n' roll trio.

Lou Thomas 2009

Gossip's latest album is set to reinforce the band's reputation as a fierce rock 'n' roll trio and improve Beth Ditto’s already respected standing as a killer frontwoman.

More importantly for the band, Music For Men will finally persuade critics that they're capable of more than one terrific single.

Brilliant gay rights anthem Standing In The Way Of Control has left a long shadow, but with legendarily reductive producer Rick Rubin at the helm the killer tunes occur far more frequently on this fourth album than they have before.

After a killer mood-setting start with Dimestore Diamond's sleazy bass wobble and Beth's petulantly seductive croon, this record is a defiant, solidly entertaining work.

Ditto is a proud, smartly mischievous personality and in a fair world these songs, which seem a clear extension of her character, would make Gossip far more feted.

Particular stand-outs on MFM include moments such as when a sharp, staccato Queens Of The Stone Age sharp, staccato riff is channelled effectively by guitarist Bruce Paine for the scathing 8th Wonder and the incongruous Love Long Distance.

The latter tempers St Etienne/Pet Shop Boys piano riffage with a disco beat and synths, while Ditto has never sounded cooler than when she semi-quotes Marvin Gaye with the knowing line, ''I heard it through the bassline that much longer would you be my baby''. On this evidence Gossip could easily make an album of old-skool house anthems.

Men In Love is another hit-in-waiting built more for the dancefloor than the moshpit which shows the band's glitterball tendencies are sincere. Hannah Billie supplies a terrific beat while Paine's riffs comprise a few simple notes. It's not complex but the supple groove is massively satisfying.

In lesser production hands Music For Men could have left the band sounding like New Young Pony Club copyists. But Rubin has helped guide Ditto and Co to territory where the dance elements of the album never sound shoehorned in, while retaining their punk bite.

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