Following the recording of Manscape, drummer Robert “Gotobed” Grey left Wire. The other three members briefly carried on under the name Wir for this album, a few other stray tracks and a couple of gigs. The First Letter is closer to the arty, smeary records Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis made together in the ’80s (under the names Dome and Cupol) than to any of Wire’s other albums. It’s only incidentally and intermittently a “song” record: after its opening sequence of “Take It (For Greedy),” a one-note litany built on what sounds a lot like a sample of Pink Flag‘s “Strange,” and the understated synth-pop pulse and two-voice counterpoint of “So and Slow It Grows,” it becomes much more about sound experiments than compositions. That’s fine — Gilbert, Lewis and Colin Newman have always been first-class texturalists, and throwing both the “beat-combo” format and the possibility of alternative rock careerism out the window lets them have some fun with clanking loops, answering-machine tapes and MIDI-triggered noises.
By Douglas Wolk on 07.14.11 in Icons
One way of describing Wire is to say that they've effectively been three different bands with (mostly) the same lineup: the blazing art-punk mutants of their 1976-80 incarnation, the monomaniacal electro-brainiacs of the...
By Garry Mullholland on 09.09.14 in Features
The U.K. post-punks on the self-sabotage of their bizarre live album 'Document & Eyewitness.'
By Robert Ham on 08.18.14 in Reviews
It feels like the reissue of Wire's Document & Eyewitness 1979-1980 should have happened sooner. The 1981 live recording has been out of print for more than 20 years now, and many of the songs on it were used as the basi...
By Andrew Parks on 07.01.14 in News
In today's In Case You Missed It department, The Village Voice has dug up an old Dangerous Minds post about a St. Louis zine that featured Chuck Berry reviewing classic punk records and "so-called new stuff" like Wire an...