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154

Wire

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

After Wire’s thrilling, punk-rooted debut, Pink Flag, and their more complex Chairs Missing, they issued album number three in 1979, the multi-textured 154. There are many glorious things about 154, but the careful weaving of Colin Newman’s sinister guitars with the moody, brooding synths of “fifth member” and producer Mike Thorne feels like a stroke of master genius, even several decades later. The powerful “A Touching Display” feels like a miniature Bergman film, all towering shadows and taut suspense that eventually unspools in a beautiful, blistering gale of sound. It’s the showstopper here, but the tense, punk energy on “Two People In a Room” and the airy, pop-colored “The 15th” and “Map Ref 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W” are inarguable high points in Wire’s early catalog (ok, we admit the breezy, sardonic “Blessed State,” the pulsating “On Returning,” and “Single K.O”’s understated animus are also career pinnacles). The band’s art-school heart beats loudly on tracks like “The Other Window” and “Once Is Enough,” giving the record a different kind of edge. Wire’s first three albums are simply brilliant, essential and unmatched.

Biography

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,...
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154, Wire
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