Sunday, April 28, 2013


This is the thirteen studio album by Wire,  a group who has splintered,  broken up,  and reassembled without losing focus on its particular brand of art-house pop.  These are sounds and songs that can, at their best, be as thought provoking as they're catchy and sometimes sublimely weird.  Their first three releases (PINK FLAG,  CHAIRS MISSING,  and 154)  set the bar very high,  showcasing a fierce intelligence in the face of punk orthodoxy.  Even without original member Bruce Gilbert,  CHANGE BECOMES US (2013) is an essential listening experience for Wire fans.  The title is really about transformation through art,  even as it attempts to recreate a fourth Wire album that never was.  CHANGE BECOMES US recycles material from their two live albums,  DOCUMENT AND EYEWITNESS (1981) and TURNS AND STROKES (1996) that has never been recorded in a studio proper. and in doing so emerges as newly re-written.  A recent review in The Wire (no relation) claimed that this renewal had smoothed out or boiled (thanks D.H. Lawrence) the material here,  although I hear nothing of the sort.  The band certainly seems to be clinging to the creative tensions (punk? pop? experimental?) that first tore them apart and made them as artfully restless as they've always been.  "Doubles and Trebles" begins the record with continued youthful urgency:

                                   An outlining exile receives a recent dispatch
                                   when he's already in trouble,
                                   unable to relax.

Now that's Wire in a nutshell.


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