WIRE Reissues EMI (2006)
Given the current punk revival and the charts moving to a more guitar pop/rock sound (even in a manufactured was), it’s perhaps fitting that EMI reissue these three Wire albums. Too late for the first wave of punk, and certainly not Oi! or new wave, Wire were somewhere inbetween. Punk Plus perhaps. Certainly signified by their choice of label in Harvest. Catchy tunes, a bit off attitude, pub rock swagger, Wire had it all.
1977 debut Pink Flag was heralded at the time, and in true punk fashion 21 songs covering barely 36 minutes. Most too short for catchy tunes to become anthemic. Minimalist too. Lots of ideas; developed.
The following year’s Chairs Missing was bit of a progression. 15 songs over 42 minutes, and a less minimalistic sound. A nod in the direction of Talking Heads, and the odd scream reminiscent of Floyd’s The Wall. Definitely more futuristic and post punk than the debut.
154 finished the 70s on a high, despite being more fractured in production. From all out post punk to pre-gothic, each song sounds more cohesive and with more direction than the earlier albums, before the next track goes and changes direction. Not a big change but noticeable. It’s like comparing The Meaning Of Life, a series of excellent sketches, to earlier films that were more complete as a film, if not as good as some of the individual sketches.
If you have any punk, post punk or similar interests, these are pretty essential, but not for the average rock fan.
Short running times (no extra tracks) are a down side.
Review by Joe Geesin