Following a series of now acclaimed albums (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, 154)on Harvest records, Wire ceased to exist. A series of solo/related projects occurred, Newman and Lewis sometimes writing together on the former's A/Z, which drummer Gotobed played on and Lewis sometimes playing with Gilbert in AC Marias, which drummer Gotobed played on. Newman & Lewis produced a track or two on Matt Johnson's Burning Blue Soul (that kind of thing)...Come 1985 and 'beat combo' Wire were back and of course, not interested in playing those old songs... Drill became a track that defined them, and Snakedrill- an e.p. found here as extra tracks heralded their November 86 return. That e.p., which included Drill, "A Serious of Snakes", Advantage in Height & Up to the Sun is fantastic. Drill would eventually form a number of interpretations on a mini-lp of the same name- but it's "A Serious of Snakes" that remains possibly my favourite Wire song. Having heard the in-between projects after 154 (ignoring Document&Eyewitness), it makes complete sense- sequencers are more apparent, it's very electronic, with the pop sensibility apparent on prior tracks like The 15th and I am the Fly. I adore the nonsense lyrics and the dependence on the word "bonk"; in a perfect world, this would be number one forever... The other bonus tracks stem from the Ahead-single- live/alternate takes of tracks like Ahead and Feed Me; Ahead definitely predicts the oh, so progressive sound of Radiohead- electronics and otherworldly lyrics ("I remember making my body surge", or "I remember, making my body search")- a track like Idioteque or The Gloaming owes a lot to this....& these were just the bonus tracks (Mute always gave good bonus tracks...) The eight-tracks that constitute the album proper are all fine, though were initially hard-work, as I listened to everything out of sequence. Ambitious, Madman's Honey, Ahead (full length)& Feed Me stand out, though it's all great- personally the following year's A Bell is a Cup...Until It Is Struck just beats this. Wiretever. The Ideal Copy remains great value at this budget price; though the uncertain for this era of Wire should perhaps start with The A-List (1993), which has several of the highlights here alongside tracks such as Eardrum Buzz, Kidney Bingos and Silk Skin Paws...
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Like with real good bands, re-listens do it for me. Take for example this come back album 'The Ideal Copy'.
First song: 'The Point of Collapse'...it's so beautiful. Ok, I'm a real happy person at the moment, and may be this song sounds different then. I had this song on my mind, and was looking for it. What a good comfortable setting this song is made in... Once this song is settled in your mind, it will guide your day.
'Ahead'...is trying very hard to shout for attention towards the audience of New Order. They succeeded, in the more alternative dance-café's Ahead was always there. Poppy, spunky, well layered. Yes, this is Wire evolved from 154 to AZ (Colin Newman's solo, which was called Wire's 4th on the sideline). In that matter Ahead is an almost perfect popsong with a touch of nuaghtiness in it. You can here Colin Newman being full in his element here, while Gotobed joins in him that feel. Lewis roughening up the edges and Gilbert I think, is looking after the background fuzz and repetition.
'Madman's Honey' is so sweet as song. Romanticism. The jumping sunths make it alive and the other instruments guide Newmans sweetness along. A little less sugar in my tea please. Oh ? It's honey. Sweet it is.
'Feed Me' is rebalancing the come back from Wire. Come back to 154 almost. It's slow, almost threatens the comfortable feel build up on this album so far. It had to happen. Very sudden after Madman's Honey. But...the album needed it at this point. Very good soundtrack aswell. With low bouncing bass, a thrilling Lewis voice and industrial sounding guitars...not jingling around, but making fierce steps, while the bassguitar is tiptoeing along, lining up the heavy synth guitar steps (or is thát the bass guitar, as live performances showed Lewis love to work with this almost orchestral sounding industrial guitar sound on his bass). Special Wire treat.
'Ambitious' is a poppy but heavy set popsong. Lots of suspence in here aswell. Catchy and heavy sound. The Ideal Copy is mentioned here. I never listen at lyrics. The vowels are like instruments to me...to Wire also, so I've read. Another thing I share with this band (of mine).
'Cheeking Tongues' Quirky song, like a version of an earlier original, which you would normally find in a re-mix version. Now it's straight there, This is your starting point. Sounds still modern and challenging.
'Still Shows' is like a silent moment on this album. Sounds almost like a Sound of Music tune. Really. (I've worked as an usher once for months during Sound of Music, so believe me). Very Newmanny song. Could have been form one of his solo-albums. But in the background, there's more to enjoy in sounds and instruments. Makes it a real Wire piece of music-art again.
'Over Theirs' is a Newman/Gilbert vs Lewis/Gilbert approched song, like one can find on 154. Nice dualism in the band, which ends up in a sparkling song here, bit Talking Head neuroticism with industrial background noise and sound. Such nice sprakling interpretation of instruments and spheres. Not even a fave Wire song, but you can hear where they're all about.
Yes, Wire is an exciting band. Manages to surprise their garders...and being avant with the actual outcome. For example...I like this album better, than when it came out. Ahead of perception. May be that's the best description of avantgarde. Not looking ahead, but being ahead.
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