There’s a peculiar emphasis in the press release that accompanies Wire’s new album: This record was written and recorded “with no guests”. Is this defensive in that the band didn’t need any help from some celeb whiz kid for the album’s conception, or is it pride in the fact that, after more than thirty years, Wire are still making strong, individualistic records with no gimmicks and no bullshit. While the sound hovers somewhere between the darkness of ‘Chairs Missing’ and the brash energy of ‘Pink Flag’, there is art-rock vitriol in the vocals and a lean punk sensibility to the tight guitar work and spitting drums, much more reminiscent of the Wire of the 70’s. Deliciously articulate rant ‘Two Minutes’ is a highlight (“And you know what? Coffee is not a replacement for food or happiness!”) but each track is sharp and compelling in its own way.

By Polly Rappaport

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