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  • Chairs Missing
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Chairs Missing Original recording remastered

33 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 11, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Digitally remastered reissue of the British Post Punk band's sophomore album, originally released in 1978

By the time of their sophomore effort, Wire had notched plenty of live gigs off the incredible strength of their debut Pink Flag. Where its predecessor had been awash in herky jerks and jagged guitars, Chairs was rife with what must've seemed like downright longform musical essays. The dirge-like "Mercy," after all, clocks in at an unheard-of five minutes and 46 seconds, and the synth-surrounded "Another the Letter" is the only song that spans just over a minute, sirening and getting nervy and portending 1979's third Wire outing, 154. It's a silly phrase given the stature of Wire's debut, but compared to Pink Flag (see how silly it is to compare things to Pink Flag?), what's here is diffuse. It's also brilliant: claustrophobic and rich in post-punk detail, furious and floating, anthemic ("Sand in My Joints") and pop-laden ("Outdoor Miner"). And now it's back, in a gatefold digipak, remastered and rich in color. --Andrew Bartlett

1. Practise Makes Perfect
2. French Film Blurred
3. Another the Letter
4. Men 2nd
5. Marooned
6. Sand in My Joints
7. Being Sucked in Again
8. Heartbeat
9. Mercy
10. Outdoor Miner
11. I Am the Fly
12. I Feel Mysterious Today
13. From the Nursery
14. Used To
15. Too Late

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 11, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Pink Flag
  • ASIN: B000ENC7L8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Aquarius Records on April 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
In 1978, being qualified as "the Pink Floyd of the New Wave" might have come across as something of an insult; and by today's artistic strategies of rampant revivalism such a pithy remark may ring true to many a listener. That statement was, in fact, the critique prescribed to Chairs Missing, Wire's second album, as the album decelerated the pogo punk minimalism found on their first album with an increasing use of experimental production. In hindsight, Chairs Missing is the perfect transition between the high-strung velocity of Pink Flag and the staggering gloominess of 154; yet most transition records have a clunkiness about them, like a lanky teenager not quite able to fit into his sunday best. But Chairs Missing is miles above the average transition album.

To many a listener, Chairs Missing stands as the ultimate Wire album, with near perfect pop songs alternating between anthemic punk and eccentric production techniques (i.e. atonal synth drone, staccato guitar chops, overdubbed guitar distortion, etc.). Where Pink Flag kept many of the songs under a minute and half, Chairs Missing is downright baroque in its presentation of 3 minute tunes.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By chris stolz on July 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
CHAIRS MISSING is surely Wire's masterpiece. The title suggests a bunch of people, assembled for a meeting, looking around for somewhere to comfortably sit and proceed with their business. But the chairs are missing, and so things, like Wire's music, are surreal, comical and sometimes uncomfortable, and they will require a bit of adjustment.
On their debut, PINK FLAG, Wire married two minute, three-chord punk thrash with oddly allusive lyrics. Here, the band totally transcends its punk beginnings and creates something entirely new.
Wire spin simple riffs into eerie and shifting dreamscapes that recall Kafka, Brazillian concrete poetry, top-40 pop and modern trance music. The lyrics are allusive, elliptical, witty and surreal. Songs that sound like they are built of one chord exfoliate into subtle and complex structures. Sometimes Wire make absolutely perfect pop-- "Outdoor Miner"-- and sometimes their work has the insistent throb of nightmare ("Mercy"). Some songs capture whimsy ("I Feel Mysterious Today") and others make you look over your shoulder to see what is hiding there ("Heartbeat").
This album was created in 1978 and sounds more contemporary than the works of any of Wire's contemporaries. Its production inspired Nirvana/PJ Harvey producer Steve Albini, who was mesmerised by the layers of guitars.
I listen to this often, and new ideas constantly creep out of the fascinating wordplay. Newman and Lewis trust their listeners, showing us ideas and images, and letting our imaginations, carried by the complex and powerful music, do the rest. This is essential listening.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Heminger on March 8, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Wow, did this really come out when I was 14?!?!?!? It's just impossible to grow tired of this album, and I return to its greatness every few years (I play 154 EVERY year). The amount of experimentation with (what breaks down to be) very minimal ingredients has never been equalled by any other band. I love to sit and listen to what's really going on in Wire songs, only to discover that a song may have only one chord and almost no melody - and still sound incredibly complex and evocative. I don't know how they did it - especially as naive, untrained musicians - but too bad they stopped (all good things...) The contrasting surprise here comes in the hooks and melodies that weave through the material. Punk rarely sounded this accessible until regurgitated some 10 years later. This album does the best job of showcasing the two (present and past - or - punk spazz and arty constructivism) facets of the band in 1978, without sounding schizophrenic.
My first impression of "Chairs Missing" was how visual the lyrics were, like most of Captain Beefheart's work where I feel like the artist is 'singing' me a painting. These are challenging works that don't translate well as background music, despite Mike Thorne's '5th Beatle' appearance on keyboards and such. Big Black liked "Heartbeat" so much they gave it their own twist (you can see B.C. Gilbert join them for a rendition on the live Big Black release "Pigpile") and we may not even have a Guided by Voices without the 1 min. 44 sec. nicety "Outdoor Miner". The material really starts to breathe within its own arty confines here, and is a teaser for the band's following heady masterpiece, "154". (The bonus cut here "Question of Degree" is one of their best ever, eliciting yet again my most frequent Wire-inspired question; "are those guitars??")
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