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for July 2, 2002

Reading. Burning.
by Sean Carolan

Wire are releasing a new disc today, on their own appropriately-named "pinkflag" record label. It's called "Read & Burn 01". (You can listen to samples and/or buy it by following the link.)
I can't tell you how much this thrills me. I have to admit that I was a latecomer to the Wire fold, only catching on after REM covered "Strange" from the Pink Flag album. That was shortly before Wire's mid-eighties reformation, which saw them trade their choppily intelligent punk for the more deliberate and more dense studio work of "The Ideal Copy" and its peers.
At their best, they are brilliant ironists - as in their pop-esque "Kidney Bingoes", an absolutely accessible melody accompanied by completely free-associative lyrics, which would have been a bona-fide hit in a perfect world. At their worst, they are simple ironists, as in their album "The Drill", which featured only remakes of their song "Drill". (I sense a contractual obligation was expired with that.)
Now they are again reunited, and with "Read & Burn 01" (hopefully an indicator of subsequent volumes) they come full circle, expertly producing guitars that are loud and fast. And catchy - listen to "In The Art Of Stopping" and just try to get that riff out of your head. I dares ya.
The record contains six songs and clocks in at seventeen minutes or so, but it's such a solid seventeen minutes that it more than justifies the reduced purchase price ... especially with Wire handling their own label this time out - when you buy this record, I believe you're giving your money directly to them. Which is, I suppose, the point.
So go there and buy it. In fact, catch them as they tour the US this September, and see just how much of a point there is to punks 25 years past their first release. Harder, louder, faster - that's the way to age well.

©2002 Sean Carolan

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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