At a time when back catalogue outsells fresh creativity and newcomers achieve fame by adding a lick of paint to their parents' record collections, it's unusual to find a band who, despite plying their trade for decades, are willing and able to make new work that's as vital and relevant as their own illustrious past recordings. Wire
are such a band, and with Red Barked Tree
they just might have succeeded in making a statement that will sound as strong in 30 years as their celebrated historical oeuvre does today.
Red Barked Tree rekindles a lyricism sometimes absent from Wire's previous work and reconnects with the live energy of performance, harnessed and channeled from extensive touring over the past few years.
Red Barked Tree was conceived, written and recorded mostly during 2010 by the pared-down line-up of Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey -- with no guests. Ranging from the hymnal "Adapt" to the barking sledgehammer art-punk of "Two Minutes," the album encompasses the full palette of style and nuance that has always endeared Wire to pastel-tinged pop aficionados and bleeding-edge avant-rockers alike.
Whatever Wire make is Wire music: this is the band's enigmatic guiding axiom. While Wire remain agnostic about the nature and identity of their aesthetic essence, it's always been instantly recognizable, manifesting itself throughout their heterogeneous work. Perhaps this enigma will be revealed when we find the "Red Barked Trees"....