Punk changed a lot. It was seen as an underground movement to rival the then booming Disco scene, which relied on fanciful style over musical substance a lot of the time. Punk also was a denial of the past and with releases such as The Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks, this changed the way people listened to music. This is Wire’s debut album, released in the same year as that landmark album, it is also seen as a classic. Much like The Velvet Underground, this album sold poorly but is seen as a game changer. Let’s take a listen to it.
We begin with Reuters which has a quiet chugging palm muted guitar part, with equally measured drums in the background. A repeated chord then enters, before this piece kicks on. It is actually surprisingly good, and just sounds very different to a lot of music out there. The singing here is quite more like traditional Rock, rather than a Punk howl. A very good start to this album, there is some excellent bare boned musicianship here. We are in for an exciting listen here. It ends gradually and quietly, just like the start of the song, but fades out nicely.
Next is Field Day For The Sundays is a stop/start piece that is entertaining, and half a minute long. Nice to hear, just different.
Three Girl Rhumba begins with a nice and original guitar riff that sounds quite Poppy. It is a short and catchy piece that sounds aggressive without being overbearing. An excellent listen, despite being only a minute and a half long. It is anti-Progressive Rock, but still a fresh and fine listen.
Ex Lion Tamer begins with a very dirty guitar riff that sounds great. The song here is really quite cool sounding, and is totally different in a very good way to anything else. Short and bittersweet at barely over two minutes long, this is great music which is actually closer to early songs by The Beatles than you’d think. Very catchy, raw and animated, Wire do well here. A very good listen, especially if you don’t know what Punk is.
Next is Lowdown which sounds like a more ballad oriented piece, unusually so for a Punk group. Singing here about smoking cigarettes and other similar topics, this is a great song, with a false ending in the second half of it. Very catchy, there are some proto U2 guitar parts here as well. Sonically brilliant, and very good to hear. The music here is well thought out and excellently structured.
Following is Start To Move begins with a good drum intro, before going into a fairly straightforward song with random lyrics and a great musical sensibility to it. Only barely over a minute long, this is still a great listen, regardless of if you are a huge fan of Punk or not.
Brazil comes next, being less than a minute long. It is fast, with dirty guitar and catchy singing. It’s fantastic music, although it is very short listening.
It’s So Obvious begins with a classic drumstick intro, before launching straight into another under a minute and excellent sounding Punk song. The musicianship and dirty guitars here are really excellent, and this is quite quirky, in a way. Good song to hear.
Next is Surgeon’s Girl which is super dirty and Grungy sounding, and the band here puts 100% into the song. Short, sharp and direct, the drum work here is definitely interesting. One of the highlights of this album, although barely over a minute long. Great piece of melodramatic Punk.
Following is the title track Pink Flag which is longer, beginning with a dramatic drum roll section. It sounds really excellent. Some droptuned dirty guitars enter, and this song gets underway. A slower, yet intense piece of musicianship, this is great listening, and a Punk classic. There is a feeling of restrained aggression on this song, and the singing is somewhat akin to Lou Reed, except more Punk and mock bored, which suits this song perfectly. In the second half, a speedy drum roll launches this into a super fast piece that ends dramatically. It goes very quiet towards the end, before drums and screaming conclude this. Brilliant.
The Commercial is a more straight ahead Punk rock piece less than a minute long. It sounds loud and energetic, and although an instrumental, fits perfectly here. Good effort.
Straight Line is another very short piece with an excellent guitar riff that is a sort of Dead Kennedys piece. Another very good song that sounds magical in how good it is. It is over before you know it.
Following is 106 Beats That which is a slower piece that sounds aggressive and direct. A really fine listening experience, as is the rest of the album. The melody in the middle is somewhat proto Joy Division. A roaring blast of energy from start to finish.
Next up is Mr. Suit which is faster and more energetic. The vocals here are awesome, and just sound like a blast of Punk music that is essential to hear. Like the Ramones or similar Punk acts, but much faster, this is a highly enjoyable blast. Great from start to finish. Good tune.
Strange is one of the longer pieces here at four minutes long. It begins with super cool distorted (bass?) guitar that sounds incredible. Drums kick in, and we get underway here. The lyrics deal with being scared about bad events. This is a very solid listen, like the rest of the album. Some freaky female scream sounds via keyboard are in the background, but aside from that, this is straightforward, sounding a lot like The Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray. It gets very eerie towards the end with some more reverb drenched samples. Pretty odd, but good listening all the same. Clanging drumsticks finish this off. Odd.
Fragile begins with a classic straightforward drumbeat, before the rest of the band kicks in. It’s jangly and precise with the guitar, and although this song is very short, it is a good quality listen. Excellent tune, a short melodic Punk number to hear.
Following is Mannequin begins with an artistic guitar riff, with some neatly plucked bass guitar to go with it. The rest of the band joins in, discussing a lover’s appearance, in a rather humourous way. Pretty direct, this is an interesting listen, with some great harmonies in the background. Wire were an accomplished band at this point, and they sound like a group of accomplished male musicians. Good effort, the singing and harmonies here are really top.
After that is the very short Different To Me which is a fast and energetic, which sounds aggressive and in-your-face. Another decent song, although it is simple and short.
Champs is next, with an awesome and cool guitar riff to start off with. The song itself is pretty cool, and seemingly has a drug reference in it. A really good piece of music, even if it is unusual in its intention. Great listen.
Feeling Called Love has some great guitar riffing in it. It is completely different to anything on this recording, and although this is the case, it is only a minute and a half long. Lovely to hear, although it is a Punk love song, which is unusual. The harmonies at the end are really cool.
Last on this album is 1 2 X U which begins with a brief lone voice introducing the song, before going into a frenzied and nicely repeated piece of music. Very catchy, and simple, this is an excellent way to conclude this great album. Excellent music, and very dramatic. The guitar sound here is amazing.
This is an amazing album that is rightly seen as a Punk classic. If there is any sort of flaw at all with this album, it is that some of the songs actually could have been longer. Hardly an issue however, just put it on repeat. If you like loud, raw, short and direct songs, this is a great listen for you.
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