The album divides in to two halves - the 2010 side & the 2020 side - hence the title.
Tracks 1 to 4 were recorded in the latter part of 2010 and feature contributions from both Margaret Fielder (of Laika) – who had been performing guitar duties with Wire on live dates the previous year – and Simms, who was on the point of becoming an official member of the band.
Track 1 ‘Boiling Boy’ first appeared on 1988’s A Bell is a Cup… Until it is Struck. ‘Boiling Boy’ has gone on to become perhaps the most played Wire song ever. Throughout the ’00s, it became one of the acknowledged highlights of Wire’s live sets.
Track 2 ‘German Shepherds’ is another late ’80s Wire song that has developed a second life on stage. The recording is also notable in that it includes vocal contributions from Newman, Lewis and Fielder.
Track 3 ‘He Knows’ was developed back in 2000 when Bruce Gilbert was still with the band. It emerged in a reinvigorated form in 2008 when it became a staple of Wire’s live show. This is the only studio recording to have surfaced.
Track 4.’Underwater Experiences’ was demoed for the band’s sophomore album Chairs Missing, but in the end was omitted. Having lay dormant for a couple of years, the song later appeared in two fast, abrasive, contrasting versions on Wire’s notoriously confrontational live album Document And Eyewitness, and a fifth iteration surfaced on 2013’s Change Becomes Us. However, the song has never sounded quite as it does here .
Tracks 5 to 8 were recorded more recently with the long-established line up of Newman, Lewis, Grey and Simms.
Track 5 . ‘The Art of Persistence’ arrived fully formed when Wire reconvened in 2000. But it was previously only available as a rehearsal room run-through on long deleted EP The Third Day or as a live version on Legal Bootleg album Recycling Sherwood Forest.
Track 6 ‘Small Black Reptile’ originally appeared on the band’s 1990 album Manscape. Of all the reimagined songs on 10:20, this is the one that has traveled the furthest. Whereas the original was a skeletal and arch computer-driven pop song, this new version sees the composition retooled as a piece of melodic rock.
Track 7 ‘Wolf Collides’, with its warm synth tones and spindly lead lines, sounds as if it deserves to be sitting regally on side two of 1978’s Chairs Missing. In actual fact, it was written in 2015 and became a stalwart of that year’s live set. This version was recorded for inclusion on 2017’s Silver/Lead but was omitted due to lack of space.
Track 8 ‘Over Theirs’ is the climax of the continuing reassessment of Wire’s 1980s output. Although the song appeared on The Ideal Copy and has been an intermittent component of the group’s live shows since 1985, its true power had never been properly harnessed in the studio – until now.
10:20 is that rare thing: an album that not only serves as a must-have for long-term fans and completists, but paradoxically also the perfect introduction for anyone new to the band.
1. Boiling Boy
2. German Shepherds
3. He Knows
4. Underwater Experiences
5. The Art Of Persistence
6. Small Black Reptile
8. Over Theirs