Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

Wire
Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, 154 (re-issues)
Pinkflag
www.pinkflag.com


It's hard to imagine that it's been nearly three decades since the first Wire record, Pink Flag, was released. It's even harder to imagine where modern music would be without the obvious influence that the early post-punk Wire recordings had on the musical world. Listening back to these first three records it is blatantly obvious that much of the current crop of rock musicians owe a huge debt to Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Robert Grey and Bruce Gilbert and their unique avant garde approach to rock and roll, much in the same way that modern rock owes much to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.

Pinkflag, a label run by the band Wire themselves, is the force behind this crop of new releases of the first three classic Wire records. Each of these re-issues has been restored to its original vinyl release track listing, erasing the damage done by bonus tracks and previously re-issued versions. The public finally gets to hear the albums exactly like we got to hear them in 1977, 1978, and 1979, but with the clarity and noiselessness (no hissing or popping) of compact disc. Each of the cds includes artwork that replicates the original vinyl sleeves, and contains a twelve-page booklet detailing the recording and development of each album and includes some cool never-before-seen photographs.

That's all fine and good, I know. But the greatest thing about these re-issues is the music. It is difficult to imagine the bands that I really listened to in the late 70's/ early 80's existing in the forms that they did without the influence of Wire. Joy Division - all the Factory bands, really - Adam And The Ants, Devo, Talking Heads… even though these bands were contemporaries, none of them would have been able to take the musical roads they had taken without the pioneering steps of Wire. Pink Flag is a testament to not only that pioneering influence, but also to the sounds of the time. With its 21 tracks - longer songs separated by short, sketchy segments - Pink Flag flirts with the boundaries of punk rock, but draws more melody and musical continuity into its envelope. Chairs Missing moves a bit further from punk rock, making more melodic moves and drawing inspirations from the obscure psychedelia of the late 60's. The music is smoother and shows a maturity rare for a sophomore album. By the time of 1979's 154, Wire was becoming a dominant force, and their music was relying more on a power of subtle variation. The songs had expanded in sonic density, as well as length, with "A Subtle Display" clocking in at just under seven minutes, and songs included rhythms and instrumentation that were fresh to the band's sound.

It is easy to see, in retrospect, why Wire has long been considered one of the benchmark bands of the late 70's post punk movement. Not only are these re-issues fun to listen to as a trip down memory lane, but they also serve as an encyclopedic recording of the times, the technology, and much of the general musical attitude of the time. There are lessons in these albums to be learned by new generations of musicians and critics alike. And on top of all that, this is just fine music that deserves to be heard again, as it was originally released back when I was young.

-Embo Blake


Check out more reviews

Talk Back
e-mail the chief

Like this article?
e-mail it to a friend!

 


Mike Doughty



none now
-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.