Wire – Red Barked Tree

January 15, 2011

It’s not just the amount of snow on the ground that’s reminding me of the winter of 1977-78. Wire has an new lp just out, and it’s really, really, great.

Of course, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect the band’s latest work to repeat the stylistic and philosophical innovations achieved with their first three records. Instead, what makes the new album so outstanding are the songs themselves: the first four, culminating with the astonishing and appropriately-titled “Two Minutes,” rank up there with any of the tracks that Wire has ever produced.

Equally important are the lyrics. The members of Wire have always been ones to say what needs to be said — nothing more and nothing less. And so, not surprisingly, those first four songs, as well as “Bad Worn Thing” and the closing, title track, speak directly to the bankruptcies — financial and moral — of our time and lament the stupidity and greed that blocks even the most modest steps towards solution.

“Two Minutes” can be downloaded for free, from the listen page of the band’s website. But don’t stop there — “Red Barked Tree” is a masterpiece in its entirety.

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