Once The Sex Pistols blew open the doors of musical revolution in late-'70s England, half-assed punk bands and ambitious New Wave outfits began to spring up left and right. Few of these bands lasted very long, and even fewer left a lasting impression, but Leeds' Gang Of Four did both. One of the few punk bands for whom revolution meant more than fashion, Gang Of Four formed around a classified ad that used the phrase "fast rivvum & blues band" as bait. It wasn't long before art students Andy Gill, Jon King, and Hugo Burnham attracted blue-collar bassist Dave Allen, thus completing Gang Of Four's initial and most influential line-up. Fueled by a potent, artily abrasive punk-funk aesthetic, the band made its message clear: Its vitriolic vocals focused on politics, sex, economics, and the political equation of sex with economics. The mix of ideology and agitated, angular musicianship would later inspire R.E.M., the Minutemen, and Fugazi; the latter two even borrowed GO4's leftist leanings along with its sound. The band's importance has long since been documented and acknowledged, and Gang Of Four has already received the deluxe treatment courtesy of big fan Henry Rollins, who fixed up and reissued the band's first three out-of-print records on his Infinite Zero imprint. Those discs are now themselves out of print, which is too bad, because Rhino's well-meaning but uneven 100 Flowers Bloom, though an adequate 40-track introduction to the band, is by no means definitive. Frankly, Gang Of Four's Entertainment! (the punky one), Solid Gold (the No Wavey one), and Songs Of The Free (the new wave one), as well as its first two EPs, are all pretty indispensable in their entirety. But to cover the band's whole career, 100 Flowers Bloom excises key tracks from GO4's early years in favor of questionable tracks from 1983's Hard and the much-derided 1991 "comeback" album Mall, not to mention unnecessary remixes from 1995's underrated Shrinkwrapped. For fans, there are a few live songs, a demo or two, and the usual rare photos. But for the neophyte, the more focused (and probably also out-of-print) A Brief History Of The Twentieth Century may be the best one-stop Gang Of Four collection. For a band this important, the divide-and-conquer approach of 100 Flowers Bloom just isn't enough. Buy up the band's old history before reissues like this one rewrite it.