Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wire - A Bell Is a Cup...Until It is Struck

I love 80's Wire. After their initial epochal trilogy, most people think Wire quit or became a shadow of themselves. Quite the contrary in fact, while indulging experimentalism in their alternate guises (Dome, P'O, AC Marias etc) and their solo excursions, they crafted some of the most beautiful and contemplative pop of the era, of which "A Bell..." is the gold standard. Sell your kidney bingos.

"The British postpunk pioneers of Wire were one of the prime influences on bands like the Cure, Hüsker Dü and R.E.M. They have survived long enough to see their influence bear fruit while moving on to a more trancey, hypnotic kind of music that just might inspire yet another generation of musicians.

Wire weaves intricate textures out of the most basic materials; the components of a song are almost as fascinating as their interplay. On this record, timbre is as important as any other facet of the music.

You need a special decoder ring (not included) to understand the lyrics, but maybe they were designed to be misunderstood. Even "Kidney Bingos," the most poppy song on this album, has a chorus that runs, "Money spines paper lung/Kidney bingos organ fun." You might very well find yourself singing along, and the tune will haunt you for weeks, but what the heck does it mean?

Someone once said that architecture is frozen music; Wire's music is animated architecture. Wire won't blow you out of the room; it'll just keep you from leaving it." - Michael Azzerad

Yuca en escabeche


  1. >I love 80's Wire.

    me too!!! way too underrated!

  2. This is f'ing great! This album should not ignored.

  3. I think the chorus has to do with our brave new world of medicine.
    Transplants of monkey spines into humans
    Paper lungs - some sort of new tech lung replacement
    Kidney bingos - some sort of unorthodox way of individuals who need a new kidney to aquire one.

  4. This is the album that got me hooked on Wire and to me its one of the best albums of the 80's. I know its considered by many as pop and a very commercial album for them but wow what a beautifully strange album. Pop music yes , but pop music for some wild alternative universe where everyone speaks the language of stream of conciousness. -Gene