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Red Barked Tree

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Editors’ Notes

British post-punk pioneers Wire are still at it, and Red Barked Tree makes a neat dozen LPs by the band (well, the remaining 3/4s of the group) since their inception back in 1976. After the hard-edged Send and the satisfying-but-not-quite-spectacular Object 47, the surprisingly powerful Red Barked Tree is a record fans will likely see rise to the top half of their Wire favorites list. The taut, grinding, hypnotic grooves that define the band’s sound are here (“Two Minutes,” “Moreover,” “Smash”), as is the group’s trademark dark, unsettling neo-pop (“Adapt,” “Please Take,” “Clay,” “A Flat Tent”).  Red Barked Tree has more in common with 154 and Chairs Missing than with their seminal debut, Pink Flag, and those atmospheric tones are in full employ on the beautiful “Down to This” and the brooding title track; both are created in the shadowy, art-rock hues of gray and black that colored the band’s early work, but there’s a clarity and freshness that is exhilarating. Wire once again thrills longtime fans, and shows younger indie kids how it’s done.


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, 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 stop recording indefinitely...
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