This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Wire January 29, 2011Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Wire? Brilliant, no dispute. Early period, Pink Flag – stone classic, Chairs Missing – the pace slows somewhat, but in an interesting way, 154 – remarkable. Then they stopped.
And then returned as an electronic band, of sorts. New Orderesque, but with a crisper edge, perhaps informed by their adherence to a much more concise form of post-punk originally. And they even charted, with Eardrum Buzz (apparently their biggest hit – well so sez wiki, so it must be true ;) ). But to call them poppy, well, not so much. Melodic, certainly, but shot through with an amelodic aspect and with a heaviness that set them apart from the more straight ahead outfits in the same area. Later they became Wir, after one of their members left and then stopped again for a while. The 2000s saw intermittent appearances in both album and live form and a new album was released this very month.
But that 1985 to 1990 period is to me perhaps better than their original incarnation. Slightly though, only slightly, let me assure the purists – and it’s a mood thing too, catch me on another day and it’s all 154 or Pink Flag in my head. But there’s something of The Passage about their approach. Perhaps not quite as stark but listen to ‘Drill’ and the connections are evident, aesthetically. Indeed listen to ‘Ahead’ and the original iteration of the band is also evident, that impassioned but very slightly detached overview that they made their own. Though in truth pretentious is another word that sometimes come to mind when I hear them, and it’s a charge that has to some degree dogged their later reputation. And yet, the music still holds up [and can I recommend while we're talking about pretension and The Passage this absolutely brilliant overview of the latter band by Phil on The Gaping Silence which somehow manages to be both affectionate and highly and accurately critical simultaneously?]
Anyhow, here are a number of tracks from that period. If you can get your hands on 1985-1990: The A List that’s pretty handy as an overview of the period. It’s a curious compilation whose running order was sequenced by polling fans. Why? Who knows.
At the end there’s a piece from a live version of ‘Drill’ .
We start with their finest moment of that period… the fascinating ‘In Vivo’ (this is the 7″ version apparently) followed by their second finest moment, ‘Ahead’.
Silk Skin Paws
Drill [live on the Late Show]