Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review: Wire — Object 47 (2008/Pink Flag)

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Still Snotty After All These Years


Vince Amoroso

Wire: a product of the late 70s Brit-punk boom that provided rebellious youths with a musical outlet for venting aggression. The main draw of that preadolescent-punk era was the stripped down and raw sound of lo-fi, self-recordings. This sound made names like the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, The Clash and New York's The Ramones famous. Wire's seminal 1977 debut, Pink Flag at the time, lacked in sales revenue, but served as a career-catalyst for the quartet of twenty-something's. Frontman Colin Newman had an affinity for synth and effect-driven guitar and vocal lines. Couple that with Graham Lewis' increasingly prominent bass presence, and Wire was unknowingly creating the post or art-punk genre.

Skip ahead 30 years and Newman & Co. (minus Bruce Gilbert) haven't sacrificed much to age. Wire's newest venture to-date, Object 47 is surprisingly accessible and introspective. The title track and single "One of Us," is less abrasive and more repeatable than past Wire offerings. With a pop-heavy and catchy chorus (this is Wire we are talking about right?) the song is softened by quality recording and production, as is much of the album. Lyrically "One of Us" exhibits an ominous reflection of the past with lines such as, "one of us will live to rue the day we met each other" and "what happened to our plan/ the one that we began."
Read more after the jump...

After the jump.

Seasoned Wire fans don't turn and run — they haven't sold out or gone soft. Not even close. Object 47 beams with maturity and does not lack in snotty exuberance. "Perspex Icon" is a return to the early years with Lewis' signature driving bass, sythn-supported rhythms and bar-chord-heavy distorted guitar accompaniment — yet, there is something clean-cut about the songs construction and execution. This theme carries throughout the album — atavistic yet, new age. "Are You Ready?" and "Four Long Years" are the only real delineations, finding roots in the Genesis/Bowie-like glam rock genre. Newman's vocals are still heavy on reverb and attitude, yet more restrained — that is to be expected.

Object 47 is a lexicon of punk music-stylings, from a band that was once on the forefront of an emerging-music genre. Wire's cyclical career has brought them together in 2008 sans Gilbert to record an album worthy of the band's reputation. Who says you can't be snarky and still hate your parents at 54?

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