Wire : Read & Burn

Original art-rock punks return...

In the late '70s, Wire were punks out of step with punk. Now, after sporadic reincarnations and experimental projects, we find the band regrouped once more, reprising their most influential blueprint and, happily, no less out of step.

As befits a band with an art-school background, Wire's music has remained a design classic. Influential in its time on the likes of Blur and Elastica, it's about shortness, sharpness and tunefulness, and these are qualities 'Read & Burn' has in abundance.

Well, not exactly abundance. Economy being a Wire trademark, these six songs come in at 17 minutes, but in this slim volume of three-chord thrashing (particularly in 'Germ Ship') there's proof that while punk may reside in middle age, in some quarters its vital signs have never shown more strongly.

John Robinson

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