Monday, July 24, 2006
Peel Sessions 17
Wire are not my favorite band, though I must admit to being quite partial to their first two albums. Despite this they are a band that I respect for the simple reason that they have principles, or at least one that other artists would do well to heed to. And the principle is that they record when they have got something valid to say and when it interests them, this means that we have never had contract filler half hearted, half prepared albums from them, this is probably why they have only released only ten albums during a 30 year lifespan.
The band met up art school, which was a breeding ground for musicians in the UK, and got together under the name Wire in 1976. The following year saw them gigging in London, and it was at one of those gigs at the Roxy club, they were to feature on the Punk cash-in album 'Live At The Roxy,London WC2', that the contact was made with EMI for whom they went on to release three albums. Their 1977 debut 'Pink Flag' remains a classic to this day, 21 songs in just over 30 minutes; true to punks amphetamine ideals! A second album in spring of the following year, 'Chairs Missing' was the proof that they weren't in the same league as your average Punk band. The album used keyboards to give a more complex sound without losing the harsh minimalism of the debut. They almost had a hit single in 'Outdoor Miner' were in not for them being caught up in the scandal of EMI rigging the charts. Their last album for EMI was 1979's '154' considered my many to be their finest moment, this was the first occasion that they really profited from the possibilities of the recording studio. Their relationship with EMI was not to last and they found themselves without a deal, and played their final gig in February 1980. They were resurrected five years later and have been an on/off concern ever since. Three albums in the 80's, two in the 90's and only one so far this century, though there is still time for another or would this spoil the mathematical model?
I'm not sure that they were really Peel favorites, though they did record three sessions in their first life span and only one since since reforming. Today's song come from their first session in January 1978 and is called 'I Am The Fly', and so now maybe you can guess the inspiration behind this choice, what with the heat 38° yesterday and the day before and today and tomorrow and so the damn things, flies that is, are everywhere. This having been said I do actually like the song as it displays well how they were a highly inventive post punk band doing justice to their art school roots. The song has a great raw stripped to basics sound falling somewhere between the Cramps and early Pink Floyd, and that's not as bad as it sounds on paper!