Wire - Silver / Lead LP
Label: Pink Flag
It's been exacty 40 years since Wire – using the nimble, austere lines of the now-canonical Pink Flag – completely redrew the musical map. To celebrate, the band have released a new album that sounds nothing like their debut, and yet everything like Wire.
Their 15th full-length, Silver/Lead is the latest in a busy and compelling run by the most recent incarnation of the band, now four albums deep with guitarist Matthew Simms, who stepped in following the 2006 departure of founding guitarist Bruce Gilbert. The album offers much of Wire at its singular best – combustible vectors of melody and velocity – but with tracks landing in the three- to four-minute range, the album allows the mature Wire to expand both in space and time, across gnarled bursts of brittle glam, lush keyboard vistas and, throughout, a rich ecosystem of guitars. Throughout, Colin Newman's sparklingly detailed production stays on the moody and slightly fucked side of the psychedelic, a color wheel of processed vocals, flanged drums and textural electronic whorls.
As Wire enter their improbable fifth decade, Silver/Lead serves up a puckish cross-section of their storied history and a map of brand new territory by one of contemporary music's most adventurous outfits.