UK Band Wire has announced the release of their new self-titled album on April 21 via pinkflag. They have premiered the track “Joust & Jostle” from the record. Wire has also announced a summer US tour which will make stops in a handful of North American cities.
“I had this idea that I wanted to avoid things that had a particular kind of tradition,” explains singer and guitarist Colin Newman. “I thought the three-chord trick was too simplistic and that the one-chord trick would be better. Or the two chord trick where the second chord is definitely not the right chord.”
Bass guitarist and vocalist Graham Lewis identifies another trait that has run throughout the group’s lifetime. “People said we were mysterious, arch and dark. But the only way of doing that successfully, is by also having a sense of humor. You have to have that balance. With Wire there’s a peculiarity, a contrariness and that can be funny.”
This questing approach has permeated Wire’s songwriting, their onstage presentation, even the decision, back in the 80’s, for Robert Grey to strip his drum kit down to just bass drum, snare and hi-hat. And it has served them well in guarding against repetition and cliché. In context, Wire’s last album, 2013’s aptly titled Change Becomes Us was another case of “Expect the unexpected”, as it found them extensively reworking a rich cache of material abandoned amid a temporary break-up in the early 80’s.
Their 13th studio album – simply titled Wire – comprises material that was written with the album in mind, but toured extensively first, as well as songs that Newman introduced to the group in the studio just prior to recording. The idea was to get the most spontaneous reaction possible from the musicians, and far from the rough and ready results one might expect from such a tack.
The basic tracks were recorded at Rockfield Studios near Monmouth, with overdubs added at Brighton Electric last December following the group’s DRILL : BRIGHTON Festival. The 11 tracks selected for release were the ones that came together most naturally.
“With ‘Sleepwalking,” I don’t think we even ran all the way through it before we recorded it.” Newman says. “Wire do this thing so well and there’s instant atmosphere. There’s my rhythm guitar, Matt playing lap steel, Graham (Lewis) playing bass with effects – there’s as much effects as bass – and Rob’s tolling drumming. It was already almost sustainable for six minutes with just that.”
Lewis also provides most of the lyrics for the album, their subject matter encompassing love songs, cryptic narratives and coded messages. One time, Newman asked Lewis to send over some unfinished, unformatted text so he wouldn’t be bound by what to use for the chorus. This material spawned two songs written on the same day, “Split Your Ends” and the droll “In Manchester.” The latter has one of the album’s loveliest melodies, but it’s no coded paean to the city in its Baggy heyday. Instead this process led to the disorientating and rather absurd situation of having “In Manchester” as a soaring chorus, when the song is not about Manchester beyond a single line in the lyric.
Wire Tour Dates
April 12-13 – UK – BRIGHTON – Prince Albert
April 14-18 – UK – LONDON – DRILL : LEXINGTON (album launch)
April 20 – UK – SOUTHAMPTON – Engine Rooms
April 21 – UK – RAMSGATE – Music Hall
April 22 – UK – NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms
April 23 – UK – LIVERPOOL – Kazimer
April 24 – UK – HEBDEN BRIDGE – Trades Club
April 26 – UK – ABERDEEN – Lemon Tree
April 27- UK – GLASGOW – King Tuts
April 28 – UK – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club
April 29 – UK – MANCHESTER – Club Academy
April 30 – UK – BRISTOL – Fleece
May 27 – USA – SEATTLE, WA – Nuemos
May 29 – USA – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Slim’s
May 30 – USA – LOS ANGELES, CA – The Echoplex
June 02 – USA – CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Sinclair
June 03 – USA – BROOKLYN, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
June 04 – USA – NEW YORK, NY – Bowery Ballroom
June 05 – USA – PHILADELPHIA, PA – Union Transfer
June 06 – USA – WASHINGTON, DC – Black Cat
June 08 – USA – CLEVELAND, OH – Beachland Ballroom
June 09 – USA – DETROIT, MI – Majestic Theatre
June 10 – USA – LOUISVILLE, KY – Headliners