Album Review: Wire – Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

The cult concern's 12th record is unrelenting, witty pop

Despite influencing everything from US hardcore to electroclash and Britpop magpie Damon Albarn since forming in 1976, [a]Wire[/a] have bizarrely remained a cult concern. This ought to change with the release of their 12th record, 11 clever tracks of unrelenting and witty pop. Wire have always had a knack for the accessible and melodic, but it comes with a twist. ‘Adapt’ is almost wistful and ‘Bad Worn Thing’ swings, but it’s when both Colin Newman and the guitars go into full-on sneer, such as on the aptly named ‘Two Minutes’, the brilliant mire of ‘Clay’, the snide jollity of ‘Smash’, or gruff distortion in ‘Moreover’, that ‘Red Barked Tree’ bears the ripest fruit.

Luke Turner

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‘Red Barked Trees’ from Rough Trade Shops.