RELEASE DATE: 21/04/15
RECORD COMPANY: Pink Flag Records
Three quarters of the original lineup (Newman, Lewis, Gotobed) comes together for their thirteenth album, along with guitarist Matthew Simms (It Hugs Back). The band has been throwing down excellent albums for quite awhile, and this new eponymous release is no exception.
They sound dynamic and revitalized, and their delicious combination of highly melodic post-punk with tinges of psychedelia (“Swallow”, “Split Your Ends”) is unique and instantly memorable. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve played this new record, and how indelible some of the songs are, such as the treatise on social media (“Blogging”), or the incredible “Octopus” which sounds carved straight out of Chairs Missing territory. This is dance in the aisles, head bopping music, and so much fun to hear for this long time fan. And what an intense song the 8 minute plus “Harpooned” is, a song that has become a staple of their live set. Its wall of guitars pierced through with Colin Newman’s always intelligent vocals is definitely a set piece!
The lyrics are thought provoking and not just tossed into the mix like word scraps, they are obviously given a lot of care by bassist Graham Lewis, who contributed most of the lyrics here. And oh, the music, wow is it good. I know of few other bands that have persisted this long and can trot out the goods every time. There are a number of potential singles, such as the aforementioned “Split Your Ends” that really kicks out the jams about two thirds of the way through. Or maybe the tremendous “Octopus” that has that classic Wire vibe that grabs me by the throat. The gentle “Swallow” builds slowly and comes to a crescendo before retreating back to the pretty wafting melody that started it. “Joust Jostle” is classic, hip shaking Wire, and I bet it kicks live. “Sleep Walking” has that ominous haze that overshadows “Harpooned”, but also offers up classic melodies.
In summary, this is an excellent addition to the band’s long history, and is well worth picking up for existing fans as well as post-punk fans who like their music shaken, stirred, and delivered as a vanilla milkshake laced with sonic razor blades. Absolutely essential!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days “continues to define my existence”. During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.