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Read & Burn 03 - EP

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Album Review

London's pioneering art-punkers Wire return to their Read and Burn series five years after 02 and four years since their last work, the Send LP. (In the interim, they remastered their late ‘70s manna.) Since Send relied too heavily on known 01 and 02 material, they've further announced that 03 will not appear on a new LP they're completing. The big surprise is that where 01 and 02 rewound then modernized 1978's Chairs Missing, 03 grabs the dormant controls of 1979's immortal third LP, 154. "Our Time" echoes Colin Newman's classic single "Map Ref. 41 °N 93° W," with Newman and B.C. Gilbert trading similar futuristic guitars. The 9:46 opener "23 Years Too Late" even takes a monochord/monotone approach like "Two People in a Room" (and much of Pink Flag), then treats it to the epic hypnotics of "Touching Display"; it's like the verse of "12XU" gone endless — an approach that pays off even better on "No Warning Given." Wire's 154 was so open-ended, and never successfully copied since, that this is not so much revisiting as revisionism, taking space rock elements and making something weirdly tighter-wound, like Chairs Missing. But it's so expansive in production, one almost expects a returning Mike Thorne credit rather than Newman's own. Sakes alive, if Wire have a whole LP like this on cue, it will make them not just living legends, but verifiable gods, for the post-punk possibilities in pop/anti-pop forever. For now, this is 25 rigorous minutes of minimalist pop heaven. Geniuses? Correct. Still.


Formed: 1976 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Wire emerged out of the British punk explosion but, from the outset and decades after, maintained a distance from that scene and resisted easy categorization. While punk rapidly became a caricature of itself, Wire's musical identity -- focused on experimentation and process -- was constantly metamorphosing. Their first three albums alone attest to a startling evolution as the band repeatedly reinvented itself between 1977 and 1979. That capacity for self-reinvention, coupled with a willingness to...
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