Wire

Nocturnal Koreans

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Apr 25, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


2016 has been a bit of an oddity to date. How many other years can you think of where, even only at the quarter-year mark, so many of the best albums have been released by artists over 60? David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and John Cale are now joined by Wire. Nocturnal Koreans clocks in at just 27 minutes but, as the cliché goes, it's here for a good time, not a long time.

Wire's appeal has always been born of their balance between being ahead of the curve while remaining understated enough not to be widely appreciated for that. Their previous self-titled effort maybe saw those standards slip a touch, but this is a return to the stratospherically high standards they've maintained for a remarkable amount of time.

The likes of "Dead Weight," "Still," and "Pilgrim Trade" showcase Wire at their best, with choppy guitars and subtle keyboards finding the balance between shimmering and meaty to create a post punk sound that feels like a bridge between The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Twilight Sad. In contrast, "Forward Position" is sparse and Colin Newman's reverb-laden vocals instil a sense of genuine dread. Even the album's weakest track, "Numbered," with its synth lead feeling a touch out of place on this short record, works well as a stark and unexpected slice of punkish fury.

The album closes with "Fishes Bones," a genuinely euphoric and celebratory song. Given that this album is a slice of miniature genius (which we really should expect of Wire by now), few closing songs this year feel quite so well earned. (www.pinkflag.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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