Wire / Red Barked Tree
Rory Carroll thinks Wire's Red Barked Tree is something for entusiasts...
Red Barked Tree
Bands like Wire are the last bastion of integrity within The Record Industry That Was; an industry where a five-album deal meant that you actually released five albums before you were shipped off to the glue factory, not one.
Wire’s career has already spanned some 30 years, and ‘Red Barked Tree’ sees them saddle up for one last ride. ‘Please Take’ and ‘Adapt’ immediately demonstrate that they’ve not forgotten where the chorus pedal is on the effects board. This swirly tone comes to dominate much of the album, but Wire still remain at their best when they delve down barking, art-punk avenues with tracks like ‘Two Minutes’ and ‘Moreover’.
The lyrical witticisms and quirky observations remain as prominent as ever, connecting the dots between their back catalogue and this new release. Tentative steps are made towards the more modern, progressive sounds that younger listeners will associate with, but these remain in the minority.
This album will not be to everyone’s taste. Pick it up cold and you’ll probably conclude that this is a release from an old band struggling to be relevant in an industry that’s long since moved on. But those who have been with Wire from the start, and understand what this band is and always has been about, will be rewarded with a fine album from some of the industry’s elder statesmen.