Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Un, deux, trois, quatre!

I've been meaning to rave about the two Wire remasters I own for a long time.

Blame Minor Threat, of all bands for putting Wire in my direction. Oh, and "The Holy Bible" era Manic Street Preachers. Minor Threat covered "12XU". I loved it. It's available on their much required to any collection "Complete Discography". But I never went further into finding out who Wire were. And then, many years later fell head over heels for "The Holy Bible" by the Manics. And digging deeper upon the joy that is the interweb I found them list their influences at the time as post-punkers Magazine, Wire, The Skids, PiL, Gang of Four and Joy Division. It was time to find out who Wire were.

"Pink Flag" is essential as an introduction to Wire. The 2006 remaster grinds the songs along perfectly. Apparently Wire hated the previous CDs which had bonus tracks after the albums, they felt they corrupted the intentions of the original albums. So these are the pure, unadulterated, the first track to the last track as originally intended. I kind of like that. I'm not averse to bonus tracks, but I know where they're coming from. "Reuters" opens the album with that pulsating bass note, then the chiming guitar chord rings over and over and then that snare drum hit resonates to indicate the band are here and they are playing.

I like "Pink Flag", it's a great debut. But sometimes the songs, with their slightly insular sound and lack of colours starts to bleed the 21 (yes 21) tracks into one. But's it's interesting to note that only six songs make it over the two minute mark. "Lowdown" is the highlight. "THAT'S... THE... LOWDOWN!" Beautiful. Post-punk before most people even realised what punk was?!

Wire jumped leap years in band terms in the space of months. "Chairs Missing" was a logical and much needed expansion of elements their debut. Thing is Wire made that progression, and they made it quickly. Shame most of the 1977 'punks' didn't.

"Chairs Missing" is perhaps the pinnacle of the first three Wire albums (though I'm yet to hear the third of the trio "154"). It's one of those albums that takaes a while to grow on you, lacking tht instantaneous catchyness of the debut, but those albums ALWAYS reap longer rewards. It's beautiful, brutal.

Sound wise? The remasters seem to be worthy of a well done, pat on the back. I often dig out "Chairs Missing" when testing newly acquired pieces of audio kit. It's not a reference album, with bells and whistles and overblown, pristine production. It just sounds honest. I like it. I have copies of the earlier CDs and while not vastly different, the new remasters have a sound that says that some care went into them...

Pick them up when you can, I got mine for a fiver each, once again from Fopp but that was a good while ago. Nevertheless worthwhile additions...

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