Archive for the ‘Wire’ Category

Wire — Wire

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

2015 has largely been the year of the revival, with new albums from Sleater-Kinney, Gang of Four, and The Monochrome Set, even the return of 90’s mall goth legends Jack Off Jill and Marilyn Manson. It seems like almost every indie artist that’s fallen off the radar is coming out with new material this year, with varying degrees of artistry and crossover success. While English post-punk band Wire don’t exactly fit the mold, their newest album, the self-titled LP out on Pinkflag at the end of the month, seems to express a similar desire for rebirth and revitalisation. Stylistically, the music is a logical continuation of the psychedelic post-punk of 2013’s Change Becomes Us, with a darker, simmering energy and denser instrumentation. It walks the line between harking back to their old material and taking on more contemporary influences. It’s the sound of a working band who are trying not only to continue their own unique, historic formula but to allow for radical alterations too. It is, in short, a remarkable achievement, and one of the stronger albums of the year.

Opening track “Blogging” comments on the internet to the sound of urgent, modern post-punk, taking a path well-trodden on recent releases by similarly inspired old-school heavyweights like Nick Cave and Morrissey, but spinning it in a new direction, arguing that in our interconnected secular society, consumer technology and the internet are becoming a religion in and of themselves. This is followed by the devastating orchestral shoegaze of Joy Division-esque track “Shifting”, about the unexpected break-up of a long-term relationship, and the yearning narrative of “Burning Bridges”, combining psychedelic rock with post-punk revival to create an astonishing work of melancholic beauty. The narrative lyrics, coupled with the carefully constructed inter-textual instrumentation have an almost hallucinogenic effect, similar to the tracks on the latest album from The Monochrome Set. But Wire differentiates themselves by their better use of universal themes and a broader, more contemporary musical palette. While The Monochrome Set largely relegated themselves to twee or nostalgic lyrics drawing most of their inspiration from the musical past, Wire seem to be a little more in-touch with what’s going on in the modern world, going almost out of their way to reference current trends in music and society. The difference is enormous, making for a similarly high quality, but vastly more inclusive sounding album.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Wire have always been a forward thinking band. From their early experiments with electro pop and synthesizers to their notoriously difficult live album Document and Eyewitness from 1981, the band have never shied away from making shocking, unexpected musical innovations. This new album is really no exception to the rule. But probably the biggest, broadest, and most exciting change comes with the final track “Harpooned”, which is almost Swans-like in its intensity. The band refer to it as the heaviest song they’ve ever written, but it’s also one of their most melodically interesting. It’s a combination of wall-of-noise guitar distortion, subtly evolving melodic work and stirring monotone vocals, combining their traditional sound with metal and no-wave influences. It’s a triumphant conclusion to the album, and a promise that even greater things are still to come.

Gang of Four and The Monochrome Set need to pay attention. This is a perfect example of how to do a 70s-inspired post-punk record in 2015. It breaks new ground while still sounding exactly the way that you’d expect. More than just a simple revival or extension of their sound, Wire’s new album proves they’re still capable of producing powerful, exciting and relevant music, while providing hope for an even brighter future yet to come. If you’ve never heard the band before, now is your chance to be amazed, and if you’re a fan already, you will be pleased with both the stylistic continuation to their previous work, and the exciting implications of their new material. As always, Wire fail to disappoint. It’s impossible to recommend this album highly enough.

Live Review: Wire at PIAF

Friday, February 28th, 2014

24)-Wire,-at-Perth-FestivalChevron Festival Gardens on Monday February 24, 2014 – Review by Matthew Tomich. Photos by Jasmine Eales. The Festival Gardens were quarter-full when Usurper of Modern Medicine took the stage in support of Wire last Monday. The trio – featuring […]

Photos: Wire at PIAF

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

14)-Wire,-at-Perth-FestivalPIAF Chevron Festival Gardens on Monday February 24, 2014. Photos by Jasmine Eales.