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Change Becomes Wire
on 30 March 2013
The highest praise that can be given to a Wire album is to say it sounds like a Wire album and such is the case yet again. Change Becomes Us is the first album since the band's debut album, Pink Flag, with a new member, Matt Simms. In the mid-2000s, charter member and lead guitarist, Bruce Gilbert, left Wire. The next two albums were recorded with the remaining three original members: Colin Newman, Edvard Graham Lewis and Robert Grey. The first of these, Object 47, Wire sounded more like a Newman/Lewis collaboration than Wire. It was a fine album as a collaboration between those two meant a high quality album, but it was Red Barked Tree where the band truly returned to form, sounding more like Wire than they even did with Bruce Gilbert on board.
A bonus EP, given away with pre-orders of Red Barked Tree from Wire's website, was entitled Strays and it was a harbinger of what was yet to come. Not only did it gather 4 tracks, which in the main did not receive studio treatment until its release like Change Becomes Us, it also had for the first time, lead guitarist, Matt Simms playing along. Change Becomes Us picks up where Strays left off. Live material from 1979, which never saw the light of day as official studio releases, has been resurrected here as the source material for this new release. And like Strays, Matt Simms is present as the new and official lead guitarist.
Quite honestly, when I first heard about all of this, I was holding my breath. New old material? New guitarist? As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. Being familiar with their older live material, there was indeed a familiarity with the tunes on this new album, but Wire has reinvented them into something completely new. Not for second does anything sound as if it is 35 years old. These refined songs are better than ever before and certainly sound as if they belong to the new millennium. Fortunate too, Matt Simms blends in seamlessly with the rest of the band. There are no extravagant lead guitar solos and that is a good thing. Simply stated, Simms sounds like the lead guitarist for Wire.
So change becomes Wire, and most importantly, this is another Wire album that sounds like Wire. I can highly recommend it to the seasoned listener and newcomers alike. Indeed, those new to Wire and not familiar with the source material would think it was it was written in 2013 because it is that new and fresh in sound.