Wire announce new album Change Becomes Us
Released 25th March 2013
Listen to opening track Doubles & Trebles
WIRE âÂ CHANGE BECOMES USÂ â pinkflag (pf20)Â UK Release DATE: MARCH 25thÂ 2013
Doubles & TreblesÂ 3:51 //Â Keep ExhalingÂ 1:40 //Â Adore Your IslandÂ 2:46 //Â Re-invent Your Second WheelÂ 3:46 //Â Stealth Of A StorkÂ 1:54 //Â B/W SilenceÂ 4:40 //Â Time Lock FogÂ 5:46 //Â Magic BulletÂ 3:42 //Â Eels SangÂ 2:16 //Â Love BendsÂ 4:02 //Â As We GoÂ 4:36 //& Much BesidesÂ 6:13 //Â Attractive SpaceÂ 3:33
âWell, it seemed like a good idea at the time…,â laughs Colin Newman when asked to explain Wireâs original motivation forÂ Change Becomes Us. While that might sound like the kind of feeble excuse youd offer in mitigation when a drunken escapade goes horribly wrong, not onlyÂ wasÂ it a good idea, it actually turned into a superlative one.
In spring 2012, theÂ Wire plan had been to convene at Rockfield Studios in Wales to review the rudimentary blueprints of songs that had never made it beyond a few live performances in 1979 and 1980 â a time when the band-members were in creative overdrive yet the band itself was disintegrating. The aim wasnt simply to resuscitate and record old songs; in fact, many of them hadnt become proper songs in the first place, existing only as basic ideas or undeveloped parts. Rather, the objective was to approach that unrealized work as an oblique strategy, a potential springboard for Wireâs contemporary, forward-looking processes â a possible point of departure for new compositions.
This took place with Wire firing on all cylinders, as a four-piece studio entity again, the core line-up of Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey now enhanced by guitarist Matthew Simms. Simms had played a key role in helping the band to cultivate and shape its new sonic landscape throughout the preceding years livework. Out of the exploratory Rockfield session and subsequent, extensive development and production at Newmans Swim Studio, the ostensible source material became, in the classic Wire tradition, something quite other than what it may have once been â or what it might have become if it had been pursued in 1980.
âLove Bendsâ is a case in point. Its roots lie in âPiano Tuner (Keep Strumming Those Guitars)â â the raucous, octave-hopping number performed in February 1980 at the Electric Ballroom in Camden and preserved onÂ Document and Eyewitness. But itâs now morphed, improbably, into an irresistible, totally modern pop song. âIt had to be turned into something else,â explains Lewis, âbecause it only really had one bit.â Just as improbably, the gently lilting âRe-invent Your Second Wheelâ is tangentially connected to the notorious âZegk Hoqp,â which was more of a one-time happening than a song at the Camden gig: mostly shouting and banging, executed by a stage- full of Wire cronies in funny hats. âIt was written for performance, around people with newspaper headdresses; not with music in mind,â Lewis emphasizes. Similarly transformed, â& Much Besidesâ is a six-minute oneiric-melodic interlude that gives no hint of its putative origins in âEastern Standardâ â a dreary, obtuse three-minute track from the Electric Ballroom concert.
Newmanâs songwriting and production onÂ Change Becomes UsÂ reimagines the past in ways that ultimately break any substantive connection with it, making entirely new pieces â and these songs themselves enact Wireâs restless drive to becomeÂ other, often thriving on a fundamental tension between opposing sonic characteristics. With its stop-start, soft-hard, quiet-loud structure, âAdore Your Islandâ veers between what Newman describes as âprog and unhinged punk rock,â never quite resolving itself; the drama of âAttractive Spaceâ hinges on a progressive splitting of the songâs personality, between its calm, expansive, anthemic orientation and an increasing sense of intensity and claustrophobia.
Change Becomes UsÂ encapsulates the paradoxical essence of Wireâs creativity. The tendency of these new songs to refuse a single, settled identity is emblematic of the bandâs ever-evolving aesthetic â one thatâs always hinged on sustained tensions and oppositions: between the familiar and the unfamiliar, the comfortable and the unsettling, the melodic and the brutal, the cerebral and the visceral, the smart and the moronic, the obvious and the inscrutable, the rational and the absurd. This intrinsic, core ambivalence generates the essentialÂ othernessÂ that has characterized Wireâs most memorable, distinctive work â from the epochal innovations ofÂ Chairs MissingÂ andÂ 154Â to the electronic-pop deconstructions ofÂ A Bell Is A CupÂ toÂ Sendâs postmodern-punk expressionism and the widescreen lyricism ofÂ Red Barked Tree.
Change Becomes UsÂ is an undeniable part of that illustrious lineage. Definitely more than just a good idea at the time.