Wire Read and Burn 01

Wire is back in both name and sound. The UK innovators, at the forefront of the post-punk pack, made art rock fired by the spirit of punk, as experienced on their landmark 1977 debut Pink Flag. Throughout the '80s, Wire's sound became increasingly experimental and the band's agitated urgency dropped off significantly. Although Wire never did split up, many a long hiatus and solo project limited their output. What's unique about the band's latest incarnation, including having all the original members, is that it's a return to their punk roots, embracing Bruce Gilbert's furious buzz guitar, Colin Newman's tense, chanted vocals, Robert (Gotobed) Grey's aggressively repetitive rhythms and Graham Lewis's pummelling bass. More surprising is the quality of the material and the genuine fire and raw riffage the band has captured on this recording, invigorating their art with punk yet again. It is no wonder that the band have named their new record label Pink Flag. In the '80s, Wire had a cover band called Pink Flag open for them on tour (they played Pink Flag live from beginning to end). Not a bad idea, seeing as Wire's music had progressed significantly at the time and they weren't about to satisfy the audience's thirst for the early material themselves. Wire is on the road again, touring North America in September. This time the cover band won't be necessary. (Revolver)