It’s impossible to discuss the post-punk canon without giving the lion’s share of praise to Wire, arguably the very first band to take punk’s bombast in an artier, moodier direction. Never content with staying in one place for too long, the band’s first three records were chock full of short, angular blasts of energy, giving way to atmospheric tension with the inclusion of synthesizers. 1977’s Pink Flag, 1978’s Chairs Missing, and 1979’s 154 are held up to the highest regard, and are forever influential to bands across the musical spectrum. It’s incredible to consider that these records were made in such quick succession and have carried such tremendous weight, spearheading a genre in just a few years of intensely focused experimentation.
With that in mind, the UK band is rolling out a series of reissues to celebrate their most seminal material. First up is a Record Store Day exclusive release, a boxset entitled Nine Sevens, which hit shelves on a first-come, first-served basis on April 21st. As the title suggests, this incorporates the band’s first eight 7” releases and includes one never-before-released single to round out the box. The artwork for the box was created by original guitarist Bruce Gilbert, who was 30 years old when the band first formed in London.
These early singles will also be re-released individually, with the exception of the rare 154 7”, which was originally included with copies of the band’s classic (and this author’s favorite) third album.
Mannequin – Mannequin / Feeling Called Love / 12XU
I Am The Fly – I Am The Fly / Ex Lion Tamer
Dot Dash – Dot Dash / Options R
Outdoor Miner – Outdoor Miner / Practice Makes Perfect
A Question Of Degree – A Question Of Degree / Former Airline
Map Ref. 41°N 93°W – Map Ref. 41°N 93°W / Go Ahead
Our Swimmer – Our Swimmer / Midnight Bahnhof Café
154 EP – Song 1/ Get Down pts 1&2 / Let’s Panic Later / Small Electric Piece
2nd Length – 2nd Length (Our Swimmer) / Catapult 30
Single mix of “Outdoor Miner” to be featured on Nine Sevens.
Next on the slab is a deluxe series of CD reissues of Wire’s first three records, due out on May 18th. Each special edition will come complete with a 7”-sized, 80-page hardback book featuring rare photos from photographer Annette Green‘s archives, full lyrics, and quotes about the recording of each record, complete with introductions by renowned journalist Jon Savage and a narrative by Graham Duff. Most notably, each set will contain an exciting amount of bonus material, including all of the singles and b-sides mentioned above, as well as a handful of never-before-released demos and alternate versions. Preorder information and a full track listing can be found on the links below:
Last, but not least, standard CD and vinyl reissues will roll out on June 22nd, which will aim to be the definitive, “undiluted” editions of these albums, letting the original music speak for itself with great attention to detail and quality. These editions will be perfect for those looking to upgrade their original editions with crystal clear sound, or for those eager to discover the treasure trove of pleasures to be found across Wire’s early discography.