I had mentioned to Marc McDonald that I really liked Gang of Four and he said I should check out Au Pairs. I can see why! They sound a lot like Gang of Four mixed with X.
The first thing that stands out with Au Pairs is the rhythm section with often extremely jagged grooves. A good example of this is “The Love Song.” Most of it sounds a lot like Gang of Four’s “Anthrax.” But it moves far away from this with a romantic-sounding bridge while maintaining the same sarcastic cynical lyrics.
Where they most differ from Gang of Four is in lyrics and vocals. Lesley Woods is quite a good singer with a great breadth of style. She can be (is) as in-your-face as Gang of Four ever is. But more often, she’s focused on melody and presenting as much mood as content.
This goes along with lyrics that are pointed but not direct. And that’s where I hear Exene Cervenka, although I hate to even say it because I think sometimes, she’s just a mess.
Anyway, I’ll have to listen to them more to get a better sense of the band. But their first album, Playing with a Different Sex, is exceptional. Let’s listen to a distinctly Gang of Four sounding song (the last on the album), “It’s Obvious.”