Even among fans of the artier end of punk there’s a tendency to think of Wire in terms of three albums recorded in the late 1970s. Which is odd considering that this is their twelfth in a very long career.
After re-forming in 2003, the group (now slimmed down to three members) has been on particularly good form, and Red Barked Tree makes a good companion piece to Send and Object 47.
In loose terms, it shows Wire at their most accessible with pristine, clipped and metronomic pop-punk and new wave tracks such as the openers Please Take and Now Was, although the former acts as a sweetener for a bitter-pill lyric offered towards a former friend or business associate. They revisit their proto-shoe-gaze roots on Adapt but it isn’t long before they get stuck into the kraut/space-rock drive of Two Minutes and the sheet-metal attack of Moreover.
Yet another post-80s success for Wire.