Few bands can claim to have inspired a generation, and even fewer can hold claim to a sound. Wire have twisted and turned on the music scene for four decades now, inventing post punk before punk had really began, influencing a whole generation of hardcore kids in the process. However, the twenty-first century has seen the group take an almost psychedelic turn, one I’m sure no one could expected back in the days of '12XU' and 'I Am The Fly'. However last year's Wire record turned a few heads, proving that they can drone and swirl with the best of them.
Nocturnal Koreans follows hot on the heels of that album and contains much of the same themes. The title track, and opener, sees Wire doing pop music in the only way they can. The song chugs along like a candyfloss Krautrock extravaganza. That might not sound like the most accessible of things, but trust me, it is. After all, who doesn’t love sugar-coated motorik snacks?
The group have never been afraid of changing direction over the years, and this is certainly apparent throughout this (mini) album. The acoustic-led ‘Internal Exile’ continues the psychedelic theme set out early on, and almost has you questioning whether the veteran punks have gone a bit soft in their old age, like a nectarine in the sun. That’s not to say Wire have lost the plot, far from it in fact. This record proves just how relevant the group can be in the age of Soundcloud snippets and premium Snapchat filters. While most people will think of them as the group who played short sharp punk that barely lasted long enough to include a second verse the reality is that Wire are a group at ease with their fluidity, which is extremely rare these days.
Saying all of this, the punk is still within them, there’s no doubting that. ‘Numbered’ takes us on a strangely aggressive journey. The guitars swirl back and forth concurrently, eventually creating something beautiful, sort of like a meadow filled with sleeping androids, or a puppy carpool lane, which would, you have to admit, but the most calming sight of all time.
This lane leads us on nicely towards the climatic, grinding ‘Pilgrim Trade’. Never has the apocalypse sounded so lethargic and snowy. The vocals echo throughout, hinting at a distant dreamland, again, one probably full of androids. The journey, and it is a journey, ends abruptly at this point. There is seemingly no room for an encore in the apocalypse.
With Nocturnal Koreans Wire have done it again, leaving you with that craving for more:
More noise. More weirdness. More bloody Wire.
8Jack Doherty's Score