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Wire: Change Becomes Us

Back to the future.

These days, the most ‘influential’ of Wire’s albums (the three post-punk classics they mostly recording during actual punk) is probably 154, the one where they finally escaped the new wave and became experimental loss-leaders for a sobbing EMI Records. Since then, in their various incarnations and re-formations, Wire have followed many paths.

With Change Becomes Us, the third in their latest trilogy of albums – of Object 47, Red Barked Tree and this one – they return to eat themselves, deliberately, by using the bare bones of old songs that had been improvised live 35 years ago and then abandoned. A similar idea in worse hands could have been called No Wait, Come Back, but Change has turned out to be fresh as a daisy.

It doesn’t sound creepy, like 154’s terrifying The Other Window, or hard-to-whistle to like their great 15-minute Peel session classic Crazy About Love. Instead it’s melodic (songs like Re-Invent Your Second Wheel and Love Bends are as tuneful as Outdoor Miner or Map Ref. 41 Degrees N 93 Degrees W) and inventive (& Much Besides is gorgeous like Eno used to be). This is the best Wire album of this century.

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.