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Wire - Read and Burn 03

There's no stopping Wire at the moment. Following the blistering assault of Send and previous Read and Burn volumes, Read and Burn 03 is something else again. Taken from recordings of their new album these four tracks exist on their own terms and will not form part of the new album, so say the label. Right from the get-go '23 Years Too Late' catches a series of disparate lyrical shreds by Graham Lewis, with passages of prime Wire. It's almost a Burroughsian cut-up travelogue - and you can't help but notice the numeric reference in the title. The sardonic vocal delivered deadpan over flickering percussion and oscillating synths, is contrasted with Colin Newman's sneering vocal and that prime shouty-punky type thing Wire do. It's a wonderfully bewildering track that, as far as I'm aware, really doesn't compare with anything they've done before. Both 'Our Time' and 'No Warning Given' are more familiar Wire offerings, with moments of melody amidst the warm fuzzed post-punk experimentation. The guitars on both are far lusher and layered than the caustic sheen of the previous Read and Burn volumes. And that's maybe the real change here, as otherwise 'Our Time' is harnessed to taut clinical rhythms and a lumbering bassline, amidst light electronic treatments and wonderfully controlled guitar buzz and Colin Newman's typical sneery vocal. 'No Warning Given' is a much more uptempo, in a punky kind of way. The guitars are beautifully layered, bursting into those melodic guitar strum choruses that Wire craft so well, while Newman lays down a fine vocal melody. A contemporary take on Wire Plays Pop, maybe? The warm, fuzzed guitar seemingly hovers over a lowdown jaunty bass line that jostles with the clinical snare and cymbal of Gotobed's drumming. 'Desert Diving', the final track, is something of a slow burner; an evolving melodic pop oriented thing hinging around come clipped guitar riffs.

Read and Burn 03 is a welcome change from the recent spate of Wire reissues, and, as I said, none of these tracks are scheduled to appear on the forthcoming Wire album. 30 years on and still continually delivering the goods. You can't say fairer than that. Great stuff. For more information go to