Post-punk pioneers, art-rock veterans and all-round singular force Wire are streaming their 15th studio album, the eight-track, 26-minute Nocturnal Koreans. No mucking about with filler there.
The LP – hosted by NPR – arrives a year since their album Wire, a ballsy move to release a self-titled album 39 years into a career spent simultaneously on the margins and the centre of avant-rock innovation.
The Nocturnal Koreans tracks sprung from the same Wire sessions, but they don’t sound anything like off-cuts or box set curios. The tracks are more oblique than those on Wire – adding synth washes and occasional music concrete among the galvanised processed guitars.
Wire have always been allergic to the past, (in)famously hiring a Wire cover band called The Ex-Lion Tamers as a support band to play their old stuff on tour in 1985. But blink and you’ll miss a few wry references to ‘classic’ Wire on the track Numbered – a nod to Three Girl Rhumba and a staccato vocal delivery from Colin Newman that could slot right into their 1977 debut Pink Flag.
The whole album is streaming on NPR, but if we’re picking one we’ll go for final track Fishes Bones, as it’s always a nice detour when bassist Graham Lewis takes over lead vocals. Fishes Bones is another cryptic, surreal left turn from Lewis, with multi-tracked chants, and couplets like “I’m counting fishes / I’m making the dishes”, on top of a 4/4 industrial beat and a bit that sounds like someone fighting a piano.
“Are you needing a boost?!”
As a bonus, Wire and Einstürzende Neubaten in Berlin… DRILL DRILL DRILL!