Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Waking up the post-punk way

Anyone else like Wire? You might have heard their songs stolen (yes, a court case proved it) by the wonderful Elastica ('Three Girl Rhumba'/Connection) and Menswear, or covered by REM ('Strange') and pretty much every other band I like. They appeared in the late seventies as a weird, art-school take on punk: Pink Flag was an oddly melodic assault on the senses - 21 songs in 36 minutes, lyrics seemingly alternately heartfelt or collaged.

Unlike most bands, they didn't fade, but remained - like The Blue Nile or Tindersticks - critical favourites, bands' bands. Last year's Red Barked Tree is a masterpiece: it's recognisably pop, but twisted, enigmatic and utterly at odds with what everybody else is doing.

Some highlights:
'Three Girl Rhumba':

and for comparison, Elastica's stunning 'Connection':

The sublime 'Outdoor Miner' - which oddly reminds me of XTC and The Trash Can Sinatras in its machine-like smoothness and catchy melody:

'Strange', followed by the REM version:

Please Take (2011)

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