Wire: Nocturnal Koreans

Ladies and gentlemen, the band who invented post-punk.

Wire Nocturnal Koreans album cover

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Even in a magazine stuffed to the masthead with cult concerns, Wire remain a cult band par excellence.

It may be almost 40 years since the London quartet’s debut album, Pink Flag, took the white heat of the capital’s punk scene and forged it into something malleable and cold, but the group’s legacy and influence stands measure to most from that most fertile of playgrounds (Johnny Marr cites one of the band’s live performances in recent times as giving him the confidence to release his own solo album, for example).

But as with many a cult act, Wire’s legacy stands in inverse proportion to their commercial profile, a fact that Nocturnal Koreans is unlikely to change. Never mind, though, because at its best this reassuringly svelte and only occasionally sparse eight-track EP is a thing of beauty.

Songs such as the spacious Pilgrim Trade and the frankly unsettling Forward Position show that this is band for whom the well of creativity is yet to run dry. Most impressive of all, however, is the gorgeous Still, a national anthem based around a minor key and written using only three chords. Brilliant.

Ian Winwood
Freelance Writer

Barnsley-born author and writer Ian Winwood contributes to The Telegraph, The Times, Alternative Press and Times Radio, and has written for Kerrang!, NME, Mojo, Q and Revolver, among others. His favourite albums are Elvis Costello's King Of America and Motorhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith. His favourite books are Thomas Pynchon's Vineland and Paul Auster's Mr Vertigo. His own latest book, Bodies: Life and Death in Music, is out now on Faber & Faber and is described as "genuinely eye-popping" by The Guardian, "electrifying" by Kerrang! and "an essential read" by Classic Rock. He lives in Camden Town.