Dusted Reviews

Wire - Send

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Wire

Album: Send

Label: Pink Flag

Review date: Jul. 1, 2003

Read and Burn

Wire arrived on the British music scene in 1977, featuring kids from art-school who played fast music with loud guitars. Sounds familiar. While arriving in the same situation as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Damned, however, Wire's sound never fit the punk pigeon hole. They were not the youngest, loudest, or snottiest, and perhaps that explains why their status never reached Pistols-like levels. Instead, their derivations in tempo, experimentation with effects, and use of electronics meshed with the aggressive urgency of punk to create something entirely unique. From 1977 to 1980, Wire released three revered albums that progressed from taut punk to industrial atmospheres to melodic studio production. In the 1980s, they continued to use the studio and new technology to evolve, playing with the edges of dance and industrial music. They confused audiences by playing new material at concerts instead of the familiar songs from previous albums. If anything, Wire constantly pressed forward into something new.

Perhaps another defining element of Wire's relationship with punk rock is their critically acclaimed return to music since 1999. Unlike some of punk's other godfathers, who may have tried to return to only sound bloated and old, Wire's sound is fresh, energetic, and it packs a punch. In 2002, they released two Read and Burn EPs that loudly pronounced not only their return to recording, but also their refusal to rest on their laurels.

Send, their first full-length in twelve years, collects seven songs from the EPs and adds four new ones. The first three tracks smack the listener with a claustrophobic wall of industrial guitars. Propulsive drums push this tense fury constantly forward. For the most part, vocals have to fight for recognition. One exception is Colin Newman's sweet, almost falsetto, tone in "Mr. Marx's Table." His voice rides atop the tidal wave of guitars in stark contrast to the yelps that inhabit most of the album. Wire also drops in jagged electronic ornaments during these songs that sharpen their resolve even more. Another furious punch is "Spent," which builds the wall of guitars even taller than before and mixes brittle treble edges against a resounding low-end in beautiful, twisting texture. As the record continues, the band's restless taste for mixing genres makes itself known through industrial drum pounding and distorted vocals. "99.9" finishes the album with four minutes of pulsing ambience and metallic reverberation as a sharp mechanical beat takes over.

Wire's return comes at a point where the music of their original peers, such as Gang of Four, Joy Division, and the Slits has been energetically revived by new bands. That Wire is releasing new music along side some post-punk kids from Brooklyn testifies to their unique place in rock history.

By Jeff Seelbach

Other Reviews of Wire

Read & Burn 03

Object 47

The Black Session - Paris, 10 May 2011

Change Becomes Us

Read More

View all articles by Jeff Seelbach

Find out more about Pink Flag

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.