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A number of old-guard Brit punks (Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Damned) have all followed a similar career pattern: the groundbreaking glory days, later attempts to stay relevant (i.e., adding dance beats), a few years off, and the inevitable "return to their classic sound." Wire, having inflicted an irreparable fracture on the basic Brit-punk sound with its still-fresh late-'70s records, never was of any mold. The band's angular rhythms and staccato vocal riffs proved perfect roots for its progression into techno pop and hard club moves.

Sure, Wire had its years of downtime through the latter '90s, but the band used them to secure the rights to its old records and start its own label. Last year, Wire resurfaced with two well-reviewed singles, which have been remixed and added to the band's first full-length in 10 years. And yes, it does dabble in "classic sound" reanimating, but only in the choppy riffs and scream/chant vocals. Otherwise, Send is a fascinating hybrid of Wire's various stages, with each consecutive song offering more processed beats and distorted vocals. It's an explosive modern techno-rock revamp, excluding a couple of misfires ("Nice Streets Above," "Half Eaten") that buzz a bit too far into late-'80s industrial terrain. Considering all the current fashionistas rebooting Wire's early influence, it's fun to see blokes pushing 50 lash out with the ferocity the new no wave often lacks.

More by Eric Davidson


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