eMusic Review 0
Named after the number of gigs Wire had played in its short existence, 154 showed exactly how far they’d come since they were a punk rock band — the attitude was the same, but the sound was unlike any record they (or anyone else) had made before. They’d originally written a set of wry, sneaky songs in the vein of Chairs Missing, but with the aid of producer Mike Thorne, they mutated, inverted and disassembled them in the studio. Rhythms disappear from songs, or rise to hover above the surface of the mix; off-pitch keyboard squiggles occupy positions that would once have called for guitars; Colin Newman and Bruce Gilbert play sluggish, dissonant tone-clusters again and again until they embed themselves.
If one of their songs sounded or acted anything like straightforward rock ‘n’ roll, Wire messed with it until it didn’t. “On Returning” is a punk-pop song mixed like deep dub, with most of its guitar riff wiped away and the rest smudged into a blur; “A Touching Display” is taken at a crawling pace, and eventually incorporates a scorched-earth electric viola solo; “Blessed State” starts out as a sweet four-chord hymn, then dissolves into a mass of… read more »