The 1980’s were hit and miss decade for fans of WIRE, but few argue that 1988’s A BELL IS A CUP was a standout album, and it still stands the test of time. Twenty-two years later, WIRE has done it once again with RED BARKED TREE. From the opening notes of PLEASE TAKE, the album feels like a book-end to that 1988 classic LP. Better still, as the album progresses it opens up to a fresh sounding WIRE – bright and upbeat – borrowing the knowledge from the past yet delivering a vibrant, new, lyrical series of songs. Colin Newman covers the gamut ranging from angst ridden romps (check out the free download TWO MINUTES) to soulful ballads like ADAPT. One surprise track is BAD WORN THING, which manages to capture all-things-good about WIRE – great lyrics, great melody and haunting guitars, topped with the best vocals I’ve heard from Lewis in years. What follows is MOREOVER where the muscle of the band flexes again – a subtle reminder of their ability to kick ass. Red Barked Tree just gets better with every spin. Just when you thought they can’t get better, they do. WIRE should be proud, and all those whom they’ve influenced over the years, get confirmation once again.
2 thoughts on “CD Review: Red Barked Tree (WIRE)”
Touring this spring! Thinking of catching them in Montreal April 2.
Wire is one of my favorite bands and i love the fact that folks are still intrigued by them. There are so many albums of theirs to love, and I’ve never found any of them stale or sub-par. It seems they’ve always done just what they wished on any studio work, and I’m sure there have been few regrets if any.
“A Bell is a Cup…” deserves top 10 album status in most peoples’ catalogues IMO. Though not as popular as Pink Flag or even some of their compilations, “AB is a C” ventured so far out of comfortable territory yet it seemed eerily familiar – like a collection of songs you at least wished you had heard already.