Wire, Read & Burn 02

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 07.14.11 in Reviews
The most aggressive record they’ve ever made

The second EP by the 21st-century incarnation of Wire is the most aggressive record they’ve ever made. Colin Newman clears his throat five seconds into the title track, and thereafter we get a quarter-hour of non-stop distortion, one- and two-chord riffs, and head-down-and-charging rhythms. It’s not quite all of a piece — “Trash/Treasure” is one of Newman’s more tuneful moments, although it’s skewered with hot-metal guitar buzz — but mostly it’s a bulldozer tour of Wire’s history. (“Raft Ants” reimagines “Kidney Bingos” as industrial-tinged hardcore, for instance.) The one real respite from the assault is the throbbing first half of the closer, “99.9,” before its metallic flares ignite and Newman starts screaming his throat raw again.