17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
If Kafka played guitar..,
This review is from: Chairs Missing (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.