Wire: Send

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Wire

Album: Send
Label: Pink Flag
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Wire

Album: Send
Label: Pink Flag

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In a career spanning more than 25 years, the U.K. art-punk band Wire has experimented with brevity and long drone, playing music for dancing and music for staring intently at blank walls. The group has made guitars sound like power tools, or rushing streams, or forests of birds. And, on a semi-regular basis, Wire has dropped any illusion of compositional intelligence and stripped down to a jittery, fuzzy groove dubbed–on the seminal 1986 techno-thrash single "Drill"–its "dugga dugga dugga" style. Wire's new Send is practically all "dugga dugga dugga." The record consists of a few songs each from the two 2002 Read & Burn EPs and four likeminded new tracks, all of which present a rejuvenated, self-aware Wire, actively cross-pollinating its disjointed early work with the poppier dance grooves of its mid-'80s comeback and a mutant strain of head-banging fury that's only tangentially been part of the group in the past. For sheer blitzed mayhem, few of the current neo-garage bands and retro-punk outfits can match Send's "Spent," which drives dual live-wire guitar riffs and the shredded shouts of Colin Newman around in circles, getting off on aggressive aimlessness. It's an exciting five minutes of rock music, especially given that it comes from the minds and hands of men in their 50s. Not all of Send is up to that track's insanely high standard, but the artfully choreographed industrial buzz of "Read And Burn" comes pretty close, as does the ecstatic "In The Art Of Stopping," the ballooning two-note vamp "Mr. Marx's Table," the minimalist rockabilly raver "Comet," and the slow-building skull-borer "99.9." Newman's versatile vocals balance raging violence with dreamy softness on some of the above, but for the most part, the 21st-century edition of Wire is all about sounding alarms and pummeling relentlessly. The band has rarely sounded so alive.

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