Wire - Red Barked Tree
Rock, Pop What's there to say about Wire. Their debut album was 1977, they've done quite a few since then. It could be argued that the ship sailed after guitarist Bruce Gilbert left in 2004, but then along came their 2008 record "Object 47" which blew apart anyone's conceptions about the tank being on empty. "Red Barked Tree" sounds more like a Colin Newman solo record than something Wire would put out, he's their front-man by the way. This isn't a good sign, then again there are enough moments on here to salvage what would otherwise be a rather indulgent exercise in monotony. They seem to have gone for a gray, unyielding tone of resigned aplomb with this one. It may take a few more listens but this outing just doesn't have any songs which stand out. It's not surprising that a maudlin offering would come from them, it's happened before. Manscape, anyone?

Over the arc of the album you can feel the weight of what it must be like for this band to be themselves. They don't sound like anyone else, this much you should know but there isn't a whole lot of innovation going on and by the time you finish listening to "Red Barked Tree", you're wondering where the rest of it is. Wire sound as taut as their name, there's no flab in their music or anything excessively done in the arrangements but it all just feels so obligatory which is about the last thing you'd expect from one of (if not the) definitive groups of the punk/post-punk era. They are in their fifties at this point, so perhaps they're simply mellowing. I'd hate to think they were bowing to the conventions of expectation by compromising. After all, it's not as though they aren't known and it isn't as if there's some record label breathing down their neck making draconian demands: it's their own label putting it out!

I don't know what to feel about all this but it isn't a pleasant set of thoughts. Perhaps it's time to set Wire down for a while, a good long while. Thirty-three years of work is enough to burn anyone out, even these fellows.
3
Brutal Resonance

Wire - Red Barked Tree

6.0
"Alright"
Spotify
Released 2011 by Pink Flag
What's there to say about Wire. Their debut album was 1977, they've done quite a few since then. It could be argued that the ship sailed after guitarist Bruce Gilbert left in 2004, but then along came their 2008 record "Object 47" which blew apart anyone's conceptions about the tank being on empty. "Red Barked Tree" sounds more like a Colin Newman solo record than something Wire would put out, he's their front-man by the way. This isn't a good sign, then again there are enough moments on here to salvage what would otherwise be a rather indulgent exercise in monotony. They seem to have gone for a gray, unyielding tone of resigned aplomb with this one. It may take a few more listens but this outing just doesn't have any songs which stand out. It's not surprising that a maudlin offering would come from them, it's happened before. Manscape, anyone?

Over the arc of the album you can feel the weight of what it must be like for this band to be themselves. They don't sound like anyone else, this much you should know but there isn't a whole lot of innovation going on and by the time you finish listening to "Red Barked Tree", you're wondering where the rest of it is. Wire sound as taut as their name, there's no flab in their music or anything excessively done in the arrangements but it all just feels so obligatory which is about the last thing you'd expect from one of (if not the) definitive groups of the punk/post-punk era. They are in their fifties at this point, so perhaps they're simply mellowing. I'd hate to think they were bowing to the conventions of expectation by compromising. After all, it's not as though they aren't known and it isn't as if there's some record label breathing down their neck making draconian demands: it's their own label putting it out!

I don't know what to feel about all this but it isn't a pleasant set of thoughts. Perhaps it's time to set Wire down for a while, a good long while. Thirty-three years of work is enough to burn anyone out, even these fellows.
Mar 18 2011

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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