Indie rock/art rock/punk rock/classic rock. Wire has been making music since the 1970’s according to Wikipedia, so basically forever. You get two things with modern Wire: first of all, a wash of guitar which kind of reminds me of classic rock/math rock (although you shouldn’t get the impression that this sounds “old”--not even a little); and second, an unusually articulated voice. It sounds like he’s saying every word very carefully, forcing each syllable out of his mouth; and yet it’s difficult to tell what the lyrics are because of a light layer of computer manipulation. Listening to this can be a trippy experience. After making music for 40 years, Wire have mastered the art of musical atmosphere. The drummer lays down a walking beat, the guitars strum up a haze, and the vocalist starts doing his thing. This is a band that really knows what it’s doing that is worth paying attention to, even if, like me, you’re coming to them forty years late.
Recommended: it’s hard to go wrong here, but 1, 5, 6 are great. 4 is a good moody changeup if you want something spare.
1) “Nocturnal Koreans” (2:58): Walking pace. Warm sound, atmosphere. Lovely lyrics: “I dressed in the shower before I awoke.” And the dude really doesn’t sound with it.
2) “Internal Exile” (3:30): Walking again, warm. Chorus is the word “marching.” Some brass in the background.
3) “Dead Weight” (3:04): Groovier, and more electronic manipulation of the voice. Trembling notes underneath feel a bit trippy. Sudden end.
4) “Forward Position” (4:50): Melancholic, somber, hazy opening. The voice is clear but echoes loop behind it. Synth pulses in the background.
5) “Numbered” (2:31): Extremely harsh electronically modified opening is a jolt after the delicate ending of (4). Defiant voice. Last thirty seconds is bubbly trippy goodness.
6) “Still” (2:55): We’re back to the walking pace again. Power guitar notes. Lovely. Articulated beat reminds me of the singer’s voice.
7) “Pilgrim Trade” (3:11): Voice loops around itself. Methodical guitars in the background.
8) “Fishes Bones” (3:03): Voice much easier to understand here--much clearer. Trippy lyrics. “Are you needing a boost?” Harsher and more unsettling.