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PINK FLAG

Wire

Pink Flag

    Wire’s first three albums need no introduction. They are the three classic albums on which Wire’s reputation is based. Moreover, they are the recordings that minted the post-punk form. This was adopted by other bands, but Wire were there first. These are the definitive re-releases. Each album is presented as an 80-page hardback book – the size of a 7-inch, but obviously much thicker. After a special introduction by Jon Savage, Graham Duff provides insight into each track. These texts include recording details, brand-new interviews with band members, and lyrics.

    This stunning set of presentations also includes a range of images from the archive of Annette Green. Wire’s official photographer during this period, Green also shot the covers for Pink Flag and Chairs Missing. Promotional and informal imagery – in colour and black and white – is featured throughout the books. Most of the photographs have not been seen for 40 years – and many have never been published anywhere before.

    These special editions are something every Wire fan will want to own. It has been a number of years since these albums were readily available. The aim with these new vinyl and CD releases is to approximate the original statements as closely as possible, but with remastered audio. The vinyl releases have the same covers and inners as the originals (minus the Harvest logo). The digipack CDs have identical tracklistings to their vinyl counterparts. These versions should be considered Wire’s classic 1970s albums, pure and undiluted.

    Pink Flag was very much Wire's punk rock album, and while they fully embraced it's revolutionary spirit, they came at it from their own obtuse angle. unhindered by talent (any kind of prior musical schooling) they gleefully took a baseball bat to Rock's overblown torso with humour and irreverence, producing classic, unsurpassed razor pop brilliance and a joyful antidote to the pomposity of their forerunners.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Martin says: From the naked aggression of "12XU" and the ominous chordless drone of the title track, to the playful artpunk of "Start To Move" and "Brazil", this is, beginning to end, pure, unadulterated genius. Nothing more to add.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    CD Box Set Info: Deluxe 2CD.

    Wire

    Chairs Missing

      Wire’s first three albums need no introduction. They are the three classic albums on which Wire’s reputation is based. Moreover, they are the recordings that minted the post-punk form. This was adopted by other bands, but Wire were there first. These are the definitive re-releases. Each album is presented as an 80-page hardback book – the size of a 7-inch, but obviously much thicker. After a special introduction by Jon Savage, Graham Duff provides insight into each track. These texts include recording details, brand-new interviews with band members, and lyrics.

      This stunning set of presentations also includes a range of images from the archive of Annette Green. Wire’s official photographer during this period, Green also shot the covers for Pink Flag and Chairs Missing. Promotional and informal imagery – in colour and black and white – is featured throughout the books. Most of the photographs have not been seen for 40 years – and many have never been published anywhere before.

      With "Pink Flag" Wire tapped happily into punk's energy and iconoclastic tendencies, "Chairs Missing" is, perhaps, a little truer to their own instincts. They didnt completely shed the past completely; the joyful "Sand In My Joints" and grinding "Mercy" have more than a hint of "Pink Flag" about them, but their 1978 offering is moodier and much more textured than its predecessor, the addition of swathes of electronic sounds moving them firmly into post punk territory, a genre they helped to spawn. There is pure pop beauty on here too, of which "Outdoor Miner"  and "French Film Blurred" being the most gorgeous examples. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Martin says: Their most varied L.P. and possibly their finest hour (or so). Straddling the fire of punk and the colder, darker charms of brooding electronic post punk, it also contains within its grooves moments of melodic magic. Worth buying for the outrageously amazing "Outdoor Miner" on its own.

      Wire

      154

        Wire’s first three albums need no introduction. They are the three classic albums on which Wire’s reputation is based. Moreover, they are the recordings that minted the post-punk form. This was adopted by other bands, but Wire were there first. These are the definitive re-releases. Each album is presented as an 80-page hardback book – the size of a 7-inch, but obviously much thicker. After a special introduction by Jon Savage, Graham Duff provides insight into each track. These texts include recording details, brand-new interviews with band members, and lyrics.

        This stunning set of presentations also includes a range of images from the archive of Annette Green. Wire’s official photographer during this period, Green also shot the covers for Pink Flag and Chairs Missing. Promotional and informal imagery – in colour and black and white – is featured throughout the books. Most of the photographs have not been seen for 40 years – and many have never been published anywhere before.

        These special editions are something every Wire fan will want to own. It has been a number of years since these albums were readily available. The aim with these new vinyl and CD releases is to approximate the original statements as closely as possible, but with remastered audio. The vinyl releases have the same covers and inners as the originals (minus the Harvest logo). The digipack CDs have identical tracklistings to their vinyl counterparts. These versions should be considered Wire’s classic 1970s albums, pure and undiluted.

        "154", released in 1979, is perhaps the most overlooked of the first trio of classic Wire L.P.s, before a ten year haitus interrupted only by esoteric solo releases. It develops further on the electronic and experimental direction of "Chairs Missing", and while guitars are not entirely done away with, keyboards and often unsettling vocal harmonies are the dominant mode of expression here. That's not to say they abandoned their talent for an exquisite harmony, it is very much still there; just bent a bit. That said it is given undiluted free rein during "Map Ref...", and elevates the sublime "The 15th" into the realm of the gods.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Martin says: "154" is the last of the trio of Wire's groundbreaking late 70s output. Given their general wont for being wilfully awkward, its no surprise that this is possibly the most enigmatic and opaque of the three; but definitely not enough to conceal interludes of pure gorgeousness. A fitting bookend to a matchless chapter of punk/post punk brilliance.

        Silver/Lead is the 15th studio album from musical pioneers Wire. It arrives on the 40th anniversary of their debut performance. Yet it’s about as far from nostalgia as you could get. This is the sound of a uniquely addictive 21st century psychedelic post-punk. Colin Newman and Matt Simms’ guitar work is alternately jagged and luminous, while bassist Graham Lewis’s ear-catching lyrics are vivid yet oblique. Meanwhile, drummer Robert Grey provides a virtual masterclass in percussive minimalism. But it’s how the various instruments mesh together that really counts. And Newman’s production cre-ates a sonic space in which even the smallest gesture is accorded some recognition.

        Highlights include the optimistic dazzle of ‘Diamonds In Cups’, with its almost T. Rex-style buzz and chug, and the moody swing of ‘This Time’. Elsewhere on the musical spectrum, there’s the menacing widescreen grandeur of ‘Playing Harp for the Fishes’ and breakneck-paced guitar pop of ‘Short Ele-vated Period’.

        Wire are one of the world’s most ground-breaking bands, their influence acknowledged by bands as diverse as Blur, Sonic Youth, R.E.M. and Savages. But they have never been interested in exploiting past glories. For Wire, there is only ever one possible direction: forwards. So it’s perhaps not surpris-ing that over recent years, they’ve played strings of sold-out shows, achieved career-best record sales, and been cited as a strong influence by yet another generation of bands.

        Wire’s last three albums garnered nothing but rave reviews. From 2013’s strangely beautiful Change Becomes Us (“It’s fantastic.” – Pitchfork) to the crackling motorik of 2015’s Wire (“It’s all really well turned, potent and crisp.” – The Guardian), and last year’s punchy mini-album Nocturnal Koreans (“It's a cracker and sounds defiantly modern.” – The Quietus). Consequently, although it may be being released on the band’s 40th anniversary, Silver/Lead is an album which has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with the future.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Hardback Book Info: Book/CD.
        This special edition is a hard backed, 7”x 7”, 80 page case bound book, with text by Graham Duff, extended credits, lyrics, brand new interviews, exclusive colour photographs and the CD itself.
        Limited edition of 1000.)

        Having completed a preliminary round of work on their eponymous 2015 album at Rockfield Studios, Wire found themselves with 19 tracks. Among them, there was a critical mass of 11 aesthetically unified songs. In typical Wire fashion, however, the remaining material was something other: it had the sound of a band already moving in a different direction, beyond the album project in which they were engaged at that time. These tracks were the basis for Nocturnal Koreans. The difference between the two clusters of work birthed at Rockfield has its roots in discrete approaches to the studio process itself. Nocturnal Koreans emphasises studio construction over authentic performance, using the recording environment as an instrument, not just as a simple means of capturing Wire playing.

        Although it’s become de rigueur to talk about Wire’s capacity for self-reinvention, that’s never the whole story. Certainly, the impulse to pursue fresh ideas with each phase of work is buried deep in their artistic DNA, but they’ve balanced that commitment to the new with a core character and attitude that’s always at some level recognisable as Wire—without being reducible to a formulaic sound. It’s this enduring dialectic that gives Wire their unique status as a long-established band that continues to forge ahead with original music: always unmistakably Wire but always reimagined and reframed with each successive project.

        At a time when back catalogue outsells fresh creativity and newcomers achieve fame by adding a lick of paint to their parents’ record collections, it’s unusual to find a band who, despite plying their trade for decades, are willing and able to make new work that’s as vital and relevant as their own illustrious past recordings. Wire are such a band, and with "Red Barked Tree" they have succeeded in making a statement that will sound as strong in 30 years as their celebrated historical oeuvre does today. "Red Barked Tree" rekindles a lyricism sometimes absent from Wire’s previous work and reconnects with the live energy of performance, harnessed and channelled from extensive touring over the past few years. "Red Barked Tree" was conceived, written and recorded mostly during 2010 by the pared-down lineup of Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey - with no guests.

        Ranging from the hymnal "Adapt" to the barking sledgehammer art-punk of "Two Minutes", the album encompasses the full range of style and nuance that has always endeared Wire to pastel-tinged pop aficionados and bleeding-edge avant-rockers alike. Whatever Wire make is Wire music: this is the band’s enigmatic guiding axiom. While Wire remain agnostic about the nature and identity of their aesthetic essence, it’s always been instantly recognisable, manifesting itself throughout their heterogeneous work. This enigma waits be revealed among the "Red Barked Trees" …



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