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Read & Burn 03
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Read & Burn 03

11 Nov. 2007 | Format: MP3

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Format: Audio CD
After the disappointing "Send" album and the poorly executed re-issue of their first three albums, I am glad to report that this new EP is Wire back to doing what they do best. This is angular pop in the Wire style. Harking back to the days of "The Ideal Copy" and even "The First Letter" these tracks have hooks a-plenty. For instance "No Warning Given" is pure Colin Newman, showcasing his typical pop sensibility and interest in electronica. "23 Years Too Late" is a classic Lewis and Gilbert vocal duo. "Our Time", jagged and pumping and "Desert Diving" is reminiscent of AC Marias, languid and lush.

Having thought that Wire were gone for good, being inactive for the last few years this EP has come right out of the blue. But this is great stuff, leaving this listener wanting more. Hopefully a new album is just around the corner. But for now I am very glad to say, welcome back!!
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Format: Audio CD
Just bought the Read & Burn 03 EP at after it came out. As a bonus I got to hear all the full tracks, while waiting for Mr. Postman. Sound differs from the former two Read & Burn's that got a lot of punk emotion across, as were it like the first time in '77. (anyone with the live dvd knows how intensive those songs were performed). Good, great stuff.

Comparing '03' to earlier Wire material: The first song '23 years Too Late' is changing gears in tempo between a narrating Lewis and a chorussing(ing) Newman. Gilbert's playing soft guitar-reminders of 'Dot Dash' when the music get's quieter. Great song. 'Our Time' is the one that hasn't convinced me as yet, but the bassline is pulling a chulking Newman along. 'No Warning Given' has a more than interesting production, and is a fantastic track. The harmonous guitar playing is covered in a kind of sparkling wall of sound. 'Desert Driving' starts of as a kind of 'Heartbeat' (of 'Chairs Missing'), but straight away starts to be more melodic through Lewis bassline and a quietly singing Newman. There is a well camouflaged build up in the song. You only notice it after hearing this song over and over. Very subtely done, and it's a grower.

Wire is an institute. For the lucky few, I have to add. There is a new Wire album to follow up. These 03-songs won't be on it, so... new expectations all over again. The next album was recorded over the same period of time as 'Read & Burn 03', whatever that means with chameleons like Wire. We have a new colour of Read & Burn. It's green this time. Ok...change colours, and surprise me again.
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By Justin Case TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Nov. 2007
Format: Audio CD
A short review is all that is needed for this CD. It's fantastic, so go and buy it now. If you don't know Wire, on listening to this you'd think it was a group of youngsters with a great future ahead of them. Well surprise surprise, they're as old as your dad. Only the Fall are as old and as good. Living proof that an ancient group can still produce something cutting edge, and with tunes few modern bands will ever approach for brilliance.
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Format: Audio CD
I have to agree with the other reviewers, a great little EP. Edgier than they've been for a while, and with a great balance between the different vocalists - think 'best bits of Send', only better - mighty fine.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b2cd51c) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b5f1120) out of 5 stars experimental pop 12 Jan. 2008
By P. Guest - Published on
Format: Audio CD
If you have 01 and 02 then you just have to get 03, even if just to appreciate the color permutations of those lovely minimal graphics!

Anything by Wire is worthy of attention, and this is what they are doing now. Wire were seminal in the 70's and the 80's - both eras currently being heavily plundered in derivative ways. Wire's lack of popular status is possibly due to their restlessness. They always move on just when others are catching them up. In spite of their pedigree for them the past seems more properly consigned to its place than with many contemporary acts.

03, of course is completely different from its predecessors. If 01's bludgeoning noise was a reboot of the initial punk thrash and 02's buzzing intensity (my favorite!) of the post punk with electronica, 03 is supposedly an update of the mellower "beat combo" 80's. Which, while valid, is kind of misleading 'cause the whole point is that this stuff doesn't sound old, it sounds new!

This e.p. has four quite distinct tracks (less than the previous installments but longer). Different people seem to like different ones. Personally I like the first two. The first track is nearly ten minutes long. It has a great bass line (more than just one note this time around!), nice sparse textures, spoken lyrics that could be cringe-worthy but which manage to become highly amusing in their obtuse wit and delivery, and an absurd chorus which compresses the meandering travelogue into a manic pogo. I love the time song; it has a great groove, an amusing conceit, lots of lovely layers of processed noise and one of those drop-ins that really works!

After that it all gets a bit Githead but without the lightness. I love Githead (especially the yellow one!) but the fourth track of this set just seems a bit too ponderous for me. Others think this is the outstanding track, so horses for courses I suppose.

In a way though it doesn't matter with Wire whether or not a particular track falls within your personal "like" zone. Here's a band that acknowledge and seem to be actively reflecting on their work in the past while determinedly pushing into new forms. Successful or not (and I think they mostly are, although this e.p. is more like a set of experiments than a single coherent statement) Wire deserve the attention of anyone interested in the past, present or future of experimental pop.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bb21e28) out of 5 stars Easy to Play on Repeat 9 Jan. 2008
By Joren A. Lindholm - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Wire's endurance I would say is, by now, a legend of legends... It's really nice to spend life's decades with one of my fav's in this way. I own and love LPs and CDs of Wire and their members from each and every phase they've had. It's amply evident to say they have the wisdom of deliberately leaving the future open, knowing that the present moment - once seized - is as good as gone. The commercial nature of the music business in itself does not jive with this, and Wire have been leading what apparently has been revolutionary in these times: mature bands taking the opportunity to reform, go on hiatus and 'stitch time'.

After reading about it, I had imagined Read and Burn 03 with abstract compositions in the vein of Gilbert, Lewis releases - as a possible twist for the band. I found out this week that instead of doing something 'more arty' sounding, they just did 'Wire' 'again'; and the band is at a place where (A) they have consciously undergone a sort of retro self-distillation in terms of sound, and (B) their lyrics are very very very very good, channeling their views and ethics better than ever. Also, they have thoroughly honed their official website, which is demonstrative of their incremental control around Wire's cumulative business dealings.

23 Years Too Late sounds like late 70's period (including a background ring reminiscent of Dot Dash); however the drums sound the way they did on Send. It has the classic Lewis/Newman alternating between verse/chorus and typically clever, very funny text read by Lewis - which reminds me also of the style they had for Wir's The First Letter. The whole sound image for Our Time sounds like it could be from Send. It's about time experience and the wasting of time. Both No Warning Given and Desert Diving sound like a summation of what I love about the 80's period, yet also a lot like 154 and Colin Newman circa 1980/82. All the singing is by Newman and they have guitar grind and pop hooks similar to It's A Boy or Blessed State. I am highlighting the reminiscent sound here, yet I believe it to be one of their intentions - as they have a rare, innocent talent for it. If you like Wire, don't miss this staggering release - it will educate you!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b797f90) out of 5 stars An Awesome EP that stands on its own 17 Oct. 2008
By Said Head - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After having reviewed Object 47, the other R&B's and Send, I feel I should give my ideas on this piece as well. In a way, this short album is less a transition period from Send and Object 47: There's a long period between Send and RB3, so it isn't as though Wire released this to finish off any ideas they still had from RB1-2/Send; also, the tracks on this EP were recorded during the same time of working on Object 47, so it isn't really an introduction to the O47 material, but stands out as its own piece.

The music, as well, is much different from Send: much less aggressive in musical the lyrical content (most of which I find represents time), but it does use the same electronic style presented on that album. RB3 does have some hard hitting moments, but more refined and composed.

It also doesn't resemble O47 much either; I personally think that album sounds more like a Githead album than Wire, not that it's a bad thing really, but Githead just doesn't hit as strong or intelligently as Wire (the O47 tracks to which I'm referring: 'Circumspect', 'Four Long Years', 'Patient Flees', especially). This EP is the last release with B Gilbert in the band, who's always been a major artistic force behind Wire, and the lack of his input in O47 really shows.

23 Years Too Late is an awesome, lengthy, and intelligent track that sums up the rest of the tracks. It's airy verses function well with the narration provided by Graham Lewis's deep and heavy voice. The chorus, which is repeated many a time, uses Send-stylized guitars and percussion with Wire's trademark vocalist, Colin Newman. In my opinion this track is not any short than it should be, and the production qualities are very attentive to every detail, easily one of my all-time favorites.

'Our Time' is another great, somewhat airy, often muscular piece that couldn't be any better.

'No Warning Given' is to me the weakest track in the EP; it's too long, and drags on for a minute longer than it should, and just doesn't hit that airy/muscular contrast that the previous tracks do.

'Desert Diving', a semi-acoustic, down-tempo tracks, sounds the most diverse of all tracks, yet closes the EP perfectly. Like the other tracks, the chorus comes in full force, but it doesn't overdo it by removing the calming nature of the verses.

Since none of these tracks appear on O47, this is a definite necessity for Wire fans, especially for those disappointed in their latest material. It's so strange to compare the perfection of style of RB3 with O47, but hopefully RB4 will be a whole new phase.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b79b168) out of 5 stars Orwellian, 23 Years Too Late 27 Dec. 2007
By Stargrazer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Beginning with the nearly 10-minute sleeper track "23 Years Too Late," Wire's prelude EP to whatever full-length will arrive in 2008 poses a number of conundrums, not only via tantalizing hints of what-will-be but by burrowing deeply into my ear with positively Orwellian pop songs, whose cool sheen and measured pace belies subversive sentiments barely restrained beneath. While 2003's near-industrial "Send" was (inaccurately) hyped by the press as a return to "Pink Flag"-era energy and ethos, "Read and Burn 03" suggests a more nuanced and challenging record is in the works for 2008. Restrained by comparison to "Send," this EP of all the recordings of late '07 leaves me with the most heightened sense of electrified anticipation for what is to come next year.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b5f7294) out of 5 stars Another stone overturned 21 Dec. 2007
By J. GARRATT - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wire is one of those few bands that operate within a very specific style, 'art punk' for lack of a better term, while managing to never exactly repeat themselves. It's quite admirable, really, to witness how many different styles have been matched to their incarnations while the average joe singer/songwriter would be scratching his head wondering how you can come up with at least two different types of brisk, cathartic punk that doesn't sound knuckle-dragging.

Wire set the bar higher once again with "Read & Burn 03." "23 Years Too Late" comes in at almost 10 minutes long, features lots of repetition, yet somehow makes the most of its time mostly due to subtle (and I mean very subtle) keyboards and a mid-song shift that glides the whole behemoth smoothly to the end. From there, Wire gives you something different with each track. "No Warning Given" is currently my favorite. It sounds like something from one of the other "Read & Burn" EP's but with even more attention to detail and overall feel, fleshed out with just the right amount of production.

"Read & Burn 03" doesn't go back to the late-70s hat trick era of their career. Neither does it sift through the synth-touched 80s reunion. And something as recent as 2003's "Send" already feels like a thing of the past at this moment. If I were to come up with a comparable simile for this new EP, I would say it has a few more things in common with Colin Newman's recent side project Githead. But even that comparison isn't really spot-on. You just have to trust all of us on this review page (and I'm not alone here) when we say now that Wire has reunited for the third time, they are making stuff that they haven't made before.
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