CD Red Barked Tree [Digipak] (CD 7003170),
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Red Barked Tree [Digipak]
1. Please Take
2. Now Was
4. Two Minutes
6. Bad Worn Thing
8. Flat Tent, A
10. Down To This
11. Red Barked Trees
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): PF18
Andy Ramsay; Sean Douglas
Personnel: Colin Newman (vocals, guitar); Graham Lewis (vocals); Robert Grey (drums).
Audio Mixer: Colin Newman.
Recording information: Press Play Studios, London; Resident Studio, London; Swim Studio, London.
Photographer: Jon Wozencroft.
In an interview with Crawdaddy magazine after the band regrouped in 2000, Wire frontman and guitarist Colin Newman said that the band's original intention was to destroy rock & roll by removing the roll from the equation. Drummer Robert Gray (aka Robert Gotobed), played a large part in the removal of "the roll" from the band's music. His straightforward timekeeping eschewed fills and cymbal splashes in favor of a simple, driving rhythm that gave much of the band's music its linear, avant-garde feel. But despite their roots in punk, they've always had a few tunes on every album that could pass for pop hits, and that holds true here. "Please Take" opens the record with its warm melodic feel, even if the lyrics ("Please take your knife out of my back") are anything but the usual pop fodder. The album ends with another pop gem, "Red Barked Trees," a polished tune that sounds like a psychedelic-era Beatles number, complete with a scathing lyric that lays out the ills of modern society with bitter irony. The rest of the album ranges over the styles that have made the band so hard to pin down. "Two Minutes" is a punk screed about hating everyone and everything, driven by Gray's measured pounding and distorted clanging guitars, "Moreover" is a noisy rock/rap tune driven by short, sharp lyrical bursts, grinding guitar, and Gray's steady traps, and "Smash," another clattering, linear punk tune that's actually broken up by a chorus. Red Barked Tree is another strong effort, and while Wire is still making music that shatters expectations, after 30 years they're sounding a lot like the mainstream rockers they once despised. ~ j. poet
Entertainment Weekly (p.80) - "[They] expand on their famously minimal sound here, piling on plenty of psych-pop texture on 'Adapt'..."
Alternative Press (p.90) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "'Now Was' and 'A Flat Tent' recall their twitchy, late-'70s material."
The Wire (p.57) - "[T]he reason it all works is because with repetition and familiarity come discipline and rigour -- and Wire still have a lively and open relationship with both of them."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "This record contains some of the band's softest, most ingenuously beautiful performances, as well as some of its fiercest."
Uncut (magazine) (p.86) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t brokers a peaceable accord with some of its most popular work....RED BARKED TREE is the most successful product to date of this examination."
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