First Look: New Wire Album

Out to ruin rock and roll, as always: the British
legends’ brilliant new album Red Barked Tree is out this week on Pink Flag.


By A.D. Amorosi

There’s no longer a point of
calling Wire “art rock” or “punk”. Only chaos and constant experimentation
defines them. Since punk-‘76, its membership (still Colin Newman, Graham Lewis
and Robert Grey) has morphed its sound repeatedly after several breaks. Each
momentary fissure finds Wire fueling forward with new ire-filled noise as well
as ducking backward to reference its past only to deconstruct it. There is no
nostalgia for the old and there is no fever pitch toward the future. It’s just
Wire – out to ruin rock and roll. 


On the minimalists’ newest
recording (the second without original member Bruce Gilbert), Wire reference
the jittery grooves and electronically-induced hypnotic melodies of The Ideal Copy (1987), yet it’s little
more than an outline they use to pollute stuff like the weird warm funk of  “Please Take.” Then again, it helps that
Newman croons, with more vinegar than piss, on about getting “fuck off out of
my face” and “please take your knife out of my back” on that same tune. The
woozy loll momentarily provided by the dreamy pretty “Red Barked Tree” and the
hymnal psych-pop (!) “Adapt” will seem a distant memory after the pummeling
(yet no less hook-filled) likes of “Two Minutes” and “Smash.”


This makes Red Barked Tree a smoother ride than,
say, 2001’s Read & Burn 01 but
it’s still more innovative than any other act from 1976 is mustering at


[Photo Credit: Adam Scott/



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