Wire: Nocturnal Koreans review – abstract pop from post-punk heroes


Wire can’t be expected to repeat the 1977-9 burst of post-punk innovation that saw gave us Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154. However, now in their 60s, they are the band that keep on giving. Their 15th album hails from the same sessions as last year’s acclaimed Wire, but while that set was taut and direct, the eight songs here are more textured, full of counter-melodies and shifting sonic landscapes. The tunes are still upfront, and the likes of Internal Exile and the title track – inspired by a strange night in an American hotel – invite comparison to classics such as Map Ref 41°N 93°W. Colin Newman is still enjoying playing around with language (“I am black box, I remember”; “You think I’m a number / Still willing to rhumba”), but Dead Weight and the drone-led Forward Position veer off somewhere elsewhere again, showcasing Wire’s enduring ability to create unusual, unsettling pop.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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