Wire have never felt the need to follow conventional pathways during their long, storied career. From recruiting a Wire cover band to open for them and play their hits so they could focus on unfamiliar material to taking extended hiatuses between albums, they remain a hugely influential yet largely underrated band. So there's probably a little wryness behind the decision to wait until their 14th studio album to finally go with an eponymous title, as it certainly isn't because they are running out of ideas.
Wire is a well-paced album, with two distinct, albeit similar, halves. Each starts off with a glorious pop song ("Blogging" and "Joust & Jostle," respectively) to immediately entice listeners, followed by a few similarly minded tunes before ending with an epic, drone-y climax. It works for the band — they sound refreshed, and happy to look both backwards and forwards. And while Wire has more than its fair share of shimmering gems, it's a surprisingly mellow listen; only the eight-minute final track, "Harpooned," really embraces the abrasive grind that made the Read & Burn series of EPs such a joy. Instead, most of the menace comes via the lyrics, which make cryptic allusions to modern existence.
As Wire albums go, Wire is very accessible and it contains nods to almost every album that has come before it. Chances are it won't be their final record, but if that turns out to be the case, then they'll have finished on a high. (Pink Flag)