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Change Becomes Us

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 26, 2013
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Pink Flag
  • ASIN: B00B2FMFTG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,013 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is the second essential release from Swim~ Studios of 2013, the first being Malka Spigel's excellent "Every Day Is Like The First Day." These two are almost assured to be in my personal top albums this year. I can tell even at this early date!

So we all know the story: Wire took some live recordings from 35 years ago and elements of the post-"154" album-that-never-was and used them as a jumping off point for "Change Becomes Us." Nothing here, though, sounds 35 years old -- and although the spirit of "154" or "Chairs Missing" may have been summoned, the results are not nostalgic or backward-looking. The pace of "Change Becomes Us" may have relaxed (a bit) since the brilliant mechanistic frenzy of industrial comeback masterstroke "Send," but it's not as relaxed as the occasionally somnambulant "Red Barked Tree." Pop elements have been given greater weight on this outing, too, but definitely not at the expense of atmosphere. On "Re-Invent Your Second Wheel," random sung letters of the alphabet -- are they anagrams? -- sound positively sublime.

It is immediately obvious, from the opening track, that Wire have learned their way around recording and hatched a sort of ambient-punk hybrid that (on paper) seems ludicrous, but when pouring out of speakers sounds amazing.

Somehow coming full-circle and embracing their past has resulted in a very contemporary and downright riveting album of new music from these genre-frustrating vets.
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Format: Audio CD
The highest praise that can be given to a Wire album is to say it sounds like a Wire album and such is the case yet again. Change Becomes Us is the first album since the band's debut album, Pink Flag, with a new member, Matt Simms. In the mid-2000s, charter member and lead guitarist, Bruce Gilbert, left Wire. The next two albums were recorded with the remaining three original members: Colin Newman, Edvard Graham Lewis and Robert Grey. The first of these, Object 47, Wire sounded more like a Newman/Lewis collaboration than Wire. It was a fine album as a collaboration between those two meant a high quality material, but it wasn't unitl Red Barked Tree where the band truly returned to form, sounding more like Wire than they even did with Bruce Gilbert on board.

A bonus EP, given away with pre-orders of Red Barked Tree from Wire's website, was entitled Strays and it was a harbinger of what was yet to come. It gathered 4 tracks, which in the main did not receive studio treatment until its release like Change Becomes Us. Strays also had for the first time lead guitarist, Matt Simms playing along. Change Becomes Us picks up where Strays left off. Live material from 1979, which never saw the light of day as official studio releases, has been resurrected here as the source material for this new release. And like Strays, Matt Simms is present as the new and official lead guitarist.

Quite honestly, when I first heard about all of this, I was holding my breath. New old material? New lead guitarist? As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. Being familiar with their older live material, there was indeed a familiarity with the tunes on this new album, but Wire has reinvented them into something completely new. Not for second does anything sound as if it is 35 years old.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been a fan since the vinyl days of Pink Flag (in fact bought 2 after wearing out the first one) and it's amazing that these guys continue to put out quality music that always sounds fresh. The driving beats keep it fun while the complexity of it all keeps it interesting.

I always find myself latching on to the grinding, pulsing tunes early during the first few listens and there are several of these. 'Adore Your Island' could have been on Read & Burn. 'Stealth of a Stork' could have easily been a Pink Flag song and 'Doubles & Trebles' on Chairs Missing, while 'Magic Bullet' and 'Love Bends' carry you along floating on a river of sound found more in the Red Barked Tree era.

'& Much Besides' is a long, mostly instrumental, dreamy soundscape.

The thing about this album and others of recent years is that I enjoy repeat listens. I find hidden layers and new textures that keep it fresh.

They are true artists to be doing this for so long. It's a multi-era blend of their talent. Enjoy the ride!
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I doubt any type of true Wire fan will dislike this album. There are different types of Wire fans. I go for the pre-1980 break-up stuff, in a major way. I would never "nay say" anyone who loves their later work though. It just doesn't hit me like the earliest stuff. Those are among my favorite records of all time though.
I was disappointed by "Snakedrill"...The edges all sanded off, loss of the grand dynamic range, and all downhill from there. I could never think of Wire's recordings from then onwards - as the same Wire on "Pink Flag", "Chairs Missing", "154","our swimmer", or "Document+Eyewitness". Alas, they are humans. How many masterpieces can be expected ? The bar they set was so very high. Those albums changed many lives - mine included.
"Change Becomes Us", alas, reminds me of the greatness of the original Wire. Most have been informed, but this album is based on ideas and songs, which date back to 1980 and before. So this is a factor, one which hopefully will somehow inspire brand new songs which (like "Change Becomes Us") capture the essence of their early work. This album goes with "154" etc. in my shelf. The double LP version of this actually fits, as well.
One can only imagine just how mind blowing this would have been, with Bruce Gilbert (who is conspicuously absent). Given that, Matthew Smith does a great job - and pulls off some vital guitar work, etc. that helps this album work so very well.
Whether the "change" that "becomes" them will be a return to this variety of Wire - remains to be seen.
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