Picture of Wire

Pink Flag

Wire - Pink Flag ©1977 Restless Retro
1. Reuters
2. Field Day For The Sundays
3. Three Girl Rhumba
4. Ex Lion Tamer
5. Lowdown
6. Start To Move
7. Brazil
8. It's So Obvious
9. Surgeon's Girl
10. Pink Flag
11. Options R
12. The Commercial
13. Straight Line
14. 106 Beats That
15. Mr. Suit
16. Strange
17. Fragile
18. Mannequin
19. Different To Me
20. Champs
21. Feeling Called Love
22. 12XU

Pink Flag exists as one of the most influential albums that most fans never seem to acknowledge. The likes of Minor Threat, Minutemen and many other early punk and hardcore bands look reverently to Wire for their almost completely radical and revolutionary take on 70's dinosaur rock arrangements and how they completely threw them right out the window. Whereas rock of the era was overflowing with progressive rock wankering or a very formulatic songwriting approach designed for radio comfort, Wire broke down conventional structures into bursts of attitude and aggression with some songs barely lasting a minute. At the same time, Wire offered a wealth of great guitar riffage with extremely memorable songs like "Champs" or "Mannequin". Singer Colin Newman sported a prototypical snotty punker's voice with a serious English accent that many bands would emulate over the years. In fact, their brevity, lack of orthodox methods and attitude would act as a blueprint for the vast majority of punk rock as it began its explosion in the mid to late 70s. While Wire would remain in this particular area of music for a scant few years, their influence and Pink Flag's lasting impression on punk rock would forever change the face of music. This is one of the most required albums for anyone who is wishing to learn more about the roots of punk rock.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2001

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Wire - Send ©2003 Pinkflag
1. In the Art of Stopping
2. Mr. Marx's Table
3. Being Watched
4. Comet
5. The Agfers of Kodack
6. Nice Streets Above
7. Spent
8. Read and Burn
9. You Can't Leave Now
10. Half Eaten
11. 99.9

Throughout Wire's long existence, the band shifted and morphed with their musical style, never standing still for long. Their initial minimalistic debut, Pink Flag, still stands as one of the definitive punk albums of the 70s and well known as a major influence for bands such as Minutemen and Minor Threat, among others. From that point, Wire became possibly one of the first "post-punk" bands, exploring a variety of sounds and approaches to varying results. To be honest, a lot of their output throughout the 80s never particularly did much for me, but they still deserve respect for not simply regurgitating out the same type of songwriting over and over again. The band essentially was defunct throughout the 90s, but resurfaced in the early 2000s with a couple of EPs called Read and Burn 01 & 02. These EPs marked a return to the basic guitar/bass/drums approach of their early years, though hardly a repeat of Pink Flag type of material.

Send, the 2003 full length release, is a bit of a compilation/new album of sorts. It refreshes seven of the twelve Read and Burn tracks and offers four new songs. The music is straight to the point and no frills. Much like their earliest material, it gets to the point without monkeying around with experimentation. But Send finds this older version of Wire in a considerably darker mood with the music taking on a considerable amount of fuzzy distortion and ominous overtones. Some of the songs are exceptionally simple, such as the driving groove of "Comet", and others allow some breathing room ("You Can't Leave Now" and "99.9" are songs that hint more towards some of their post 70s material). But throughout, the band sounds inspired and oftentimes sinister in a very earnest way without being at all contrived. Not a bad trick for an occasionally pretentious group to pull off in the latter part of their career.

For fans of early Wire, Send (as well as the Read and Burn EPs) is mandatory. It's a complete return to form without completely plagiarizing themselves or half-assing things. It's a forceful, high impact album that will impress longtime fans as well as hopefully induct new ones into the fold.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2011

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