It’s only been a year since the legendary Wire has put out an album. The musicians who are best known for their notorious Pink Flag, have been slowly making their way back into this new world of music, and they have shown everyone that they are much more than just Pink Flag.
Their newest mini album, Nocturnal Koreans is a compilation of songs that they put together because they had about 19 tracks when they finished recording Wire. Although it’s just leftover work, the eights songs work cohesively with one another.
The approach taken with this record and the way the band recorded is far from how they went about tracking the previous album.
Colin Newman states, “The WIRE album was quite respectful of the band, Nocturnal Koreans is less respectful of the band—or, more accurately, it’s the band being less respectful to itself—in that it’s more created in the studio, rather than recorded basically as the band played it, which was mostly the case with WIRE. A general rule for this record was: any trickery is fair game if it makes it sound better.”
They made it clear from the start that they didn’t want to be held back from trying new things and to experiment with their instruments and the recording process.
The band wanted to establish the idea that this was very much an album that was not meant to come off as something that was just recorded while they were playing, but an album that has many layers to it, and that has taken the time to build into something big.
The album has an overall serious quality about it, and a consistent fuzziness to it. The opening track ‘Nocturnal Koreans’ quickly puts us into that nostalgic head space of Wire circa ‘77.
It’s bouncy with the drums, and the guitar parts are welcoming and jovial. The tune is oddly soothing, but to be fair Newman has that peculiar quality about his unique vocal chords that gives off a sound that can put a baby into a mystical euphoric slumber. “Internal Exile” has something about it that makes it hard not to think that you could see this tune in some indie flick about a lost boy in love walking through the streets of New York.
Don’t take that as something bad, shit, if anything getting your song into a movie is a pretty unbelievable achievement. The organs give the groove a hopeful yet melancholy trait that plays a little fighting game throughout.
The experimental element of the album that Wire attempts to produce shines through on “Numbered” right from the very first spaceship noise that comes through your speakers. Newman’s voice has an impassioned quality that is backed by instrumentals that are much more delicate and juxtapose his words and overall tone, which smoothly transitions into the other side of the spectrum with “Still” that takes us back into that buoyant cheer with the swirling guitars.
The cloudy guitars of “Pilgrim Trade” is a consistent song throughout, and doesn’t do anything that really is alarming. Yet, the organ that is sometimes hard to hear that comes through the middle helps lift the vocals and instruments in a beaming fashion.
This release like all the other releases from Wire is no different in the sense that it proves once again that they are not afraid to try and experiment with new things. They are always trying to advance and challenge themselves as musicians, in order to bring their fans something that they will not get consistently bored of.