Detractors have claimed that Wire are deaf old men making an unsubtle racket. This...
Nick Reynolds 2002-11-20
One of the best things to happen last year was the return of legendary art punks Wire. They stormed back with a brilliant contemporary sound. It was as clever and abrasive as anything they'd ever done; distorted guitars that sound like synthesisers and driving riffs wrapped around a witty pop sensibility. It was like the twenty years between their classic third album 154 in 1979 and now, years filled with half successful music and arty events, had never happened.
This is a full length album documenting Wire's new phase. But if you have already bought the E.P.s Read and Burn 01 and 02 you may feel a bit cheated. More than half of Send has already been released on those CDs. There are only four new tracks. These include the fantastic sexy strut of ''Being Watched'', the drone rock of ''Mr Marx's Table'', and the paranoid melodrama of ''You Can't Leave Now'', which features bass so absurdly distorted you cant help but smile.
Sometimes the manic sound does overwhelm the ideas. ''Nice Streets Above'' is alarming: a gang of Daleks doing a hyped up can-can. But it's too long and a bit empty.
But even with all these caveats this is still a great record. The punk satire of ''The Agfers of Kodack'' must be one of the best things they've ever done. And on ''Spent'' where Colin Newman barks like a sergeant major on speed over a classic groove, you just have to admire their guts. If a new band showed half as much energy and invention they would be hailed as the saviours of rock 'n' roll.
Detractors have claimed that Wire are deaf old men making an unsubtle racket. This reviewer is an old man whose hearing is going and I disagree: you have to rage against the dying of the light. And if you have to crank up the volume to rage properly, then so be it.
Rage on, Wire!