You can attribute Wire’s longevity to a number of things – great songwriting, for starters – but what continues to drive them is a need to keep evolving.
It’s something they mastered early on, allowing them to make the transition from prog-punk to electronica to an oblique kind of sequencer music that stopped just short of the dancefloor. These days they’ve stripped everything back, creating pulsing agit-rock with precious little fat. Their latest, the 13th of a fascinating career, is mostly the result of spontaneous sessions in which guitarist Colin Newman brought his new songs to the studio and allowed the rest of the quartet to develop them organically. It’s an approach that appears to have paid off, with the taut economy of Blogging freshening up the formula. Robert Grey’s insistent beats underpin the whole, as Newman, Graham Lewis and new boy Matthew Simms buzz and build over the rhythms like worker bees on a mission. There’s a chilly discordance to Sleep-Walking that mirrors its subject matter (the tipping point of a relationship), before the epic Harpooned throws up great spumes of guitar en route to a wonderfully droney climax.