Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.

Thursday

THREE GIRL RHUMBA



Awlright Here It Is, Again, And It’s Called…

Perhaps this is the most original début album to come out of the first wave of British punk, Wire's Pink Flag plays like The Ramones Go to Art School. Song after song careens past in a glorious, stripped-down rush. However, unlike The Ramones, Wire ultimately made their mark through unpredictability. Very few of the songs followed traditional verse/chorus structures, if one or two riffs sufficed, no more were added; if a musical hook or lyric didn't need to be repeated, Wire immediately stopped playing, accounting for the album's brevity (21 songs in under 36 minutes on the original version). The sometimes dissonant, minimalist arrangements allow for space and interplay between the instruments; Colin Newman isn't always the most comprehensible singer, but he displays an acerbic wit and balances the occasional lyrical abstraction with plenty of bile in his delivery. Many punk bands aimed to strip rock & roll of its excess, but Wire took the concept a step further, cutting punk itself down to its essence and achieving an even more concentrated impact. Some of the tracks may seem at first like underdeveloped sketches or fragments, but further listening demonstrates that in most cases, the music is memorable even without the repetition and structure most ears have come to expect; it simply requires a bit more concentration. And Wire are full of ideas; for such a fiercely minimalist band, they display quite a musical range, spanning slow, haunting texture exercises, warped power pop, punk anthems, and proto-hardcore rants, it's recognizable, yet simultaneously quite unlike anything that preceded it. 
Pink Flag is a fractured snapshot of punk alternately collapsing in on itself and exploding into song-fragment shrapnel. It's clear you're not getting a typical 1977 punk record from the opening seconds of "Reuters", an echoing bass line that quickly comes under attack by ringing but dissonant guitar chords. The tempo is arrested, lurching along to the climactic finale when Colin Newman, as the narrating correspondent, shouts "Looting! Burning!" and then holds out the lone syllable of "rape" twice over descending chords, which grind to a halt over chanting voices. It's all the bombast, tension, and release of a side-long prog opus in just three minutes.
As if to underscore that this isn't a predictable album, the next song, "Field Day For the Sundays", rages to a close in just 28 seconds. The band acknowledges the thin line between advertising jingles and pop songs on the 49-second instrumental "The Commercial", but also write a few genuinely hummable songs, like "Three Girl Rhumba", whose guitar part is actually more of a tango, and the more identifiably punk "Ex-Lion Tamer". "Strange," meanwhile, makes the mistake of sticking around, only to be eaten by spacey amp noise and quivering ambience-- a taste of things to come.
 
Wire were born at the dawn of punk, but they became the quintessential art band. In the three closing years of the 1970s, the English quartet had one of the greatest opening runs of any band, shifting to post-punk before punk began to go stale and forging three masterpieces in a creative furnace so hot it had burned out by the end of 1980. Those albums (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154) still sound remarkably fresh.

Taken from the US 1989 re-issue with one bonus track to MP3 @ 320kbps 
Track List 
01. Reuters
02. Field Day For The Sundays
03. Three Girl Rhumba
04. Ex Lion Tamer
05. Lowdown
06. Start To Move
07. Brazil
08. It’s So Obvious
09. Surgeon’s Girl
10. Pink Flag
11. The Commercial
12. Straight Lines
13. 106 Beats That
14. Mr. Suit
15. Strange
16. Fragile
17. Mannequin
18. Different To Me
19. Champs
20. Feeling Called Love
21. 1 2 X U
22. Options R [*]

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