Forty years on, Wire continue to hone their postpunk attack to an elegant point | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Forty years on, Wire continue to hone their postpunk attack to an elegant point


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It’s mind-boggling to me that Wire released their revolutionary debut, Pink Flag, four decades ago—and that there was a time when each new album from the band felt like it had the potential to change the postpunk landscape. That’s long since ceased to be the case, and sometimes I take for granted that Colin Newman and Graham Lewis (along with current drummer Robert Grey and second guitarist Matt Simms) are still making records—good ones, even. Their recent Silver/Lead is another strong outing, even though it treads familiar turf. The best songs, including the chugging “Short Elevated Period,” are characterized by powerful melodies whose elegance fits neatly with the streamlined instrumental attack. On the intimate, midtempo “Diamonds in Cups,” the lyric “The path that is progress is under repair” raises a theme of uncertainty that extends through much of the album. Some tunes feel overly slick, larded with 90s production tics such as plasticky synth pads, but that’s a minor quibble.   v

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