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154 Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 11, 2006
$61.88 $27.67

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Editorial Reviews

Named for the number of live gigs Wire had played to that point, 154 refines and expands the innovations of Chairs Missing, with producer Mike Thorne's synthesizer effects playing an even more integral role; little of Pink Flag's rawness remains. If Chairs Missing was a transitional album between punk and post-punk, 154 is squarely in the latter camp, devoting itself to experimental soundscapes that can sound cold and forbidding at times. However, the best tracks retain their humanity thanks to the arrangements' smooth, seamless blend of electronic and guitar textures and the beauty of the group's melodies. Where previously some of Wire's hooks could find themselves buried or not properly brought out, the fully fleshed-out production of 154 lends a sweeping splendor to "The 15th," the epic "A Touching Display," "A Mutual Friend," and the gorgeous (if obscurely titled) "Map Ref. 41 N 93 W." Not every track is a gem, as the group's artier tendencies occasionally get the better of them, but 154's best moments help make it at least the equal of Chairs Missing. It's difficult to believe that a band that evolved as quickly and altered its sound as restlessly as Wire did could be out of ideas after only three years and three albums, but such was the case according to its members, and with their (temporary, as it turned out) disbandment following this album, Wire's most fertile and influential period came to a close. [The original 1989 CD issue by Restless Retro features four bonus tracks from an experimental EP issued with some copies of the vinyl LP.] ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 11, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Pink Flag
  • ASIN: B000ENC7LS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,999 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Buyer Beware! If You purchase this product in the form of 2006 EMI/Pink Flag, distibuted by Revolver USA you will only get the 1st 13 tracks. If you want all 18 tracks, buy the EMI/Harvest import, it too is remastered. The quality of the 2006 remaster is good as well. The packaging is the digipack paper type, and the booklet does not contain the lyrics. It does have some photos and a synopsis on the band, the album etc.
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Format: Audio CD
While I'm not sure I would really want to do it, had I been asked by Continuum Press to write one of their 33 1/3 mini books about a favorite album, I just might have to choose Wire's third album 154. Partially, this choice would be something of a compromise as I doubt that a book on Nurse With Wound's Homotopie To Marie would make for a saleable product. 154 stands in my mind as the epitome of what post-punk should be: a bold fusion of post-situationist / punk antagonism and legitimately experimental methodologies with an undercurrent of smarty-pop to keep the kids bouncing up and down.

I actually came to Wire somewhat late in my record nerd existance, and I actually grew to admire the band through a reverse history of sorts, as I didn't really start enjoying the first three Wire albums (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154) until other Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert projects entranced me with thier experiments in proto-electronica. This was especially true for the ghostly post-structuralism found on their Dome records. And those Lewis / Gilbert projects took their genetic code for shadow and gloom from elements of 154. An album that was made under personal duress, 154 drips of disintegration. In fact the band split apart for almost 7 years after the making of 154, pursuing a variety of projects -- traces of which are quite present in this album as Colin Newman's pop sarcasm continued through his solo records and the vast array of Lewis / Gilbert projects.

Recorded in 1979, 154 marks the band's third radical reinvention in three years. Wire's pacing has slowed to a lugubrious, Factory-esque crawl but lost none of their punk antagonism. The slower pacing better suited the baritone vocals of Graham Lewis, who had penned many of the lyrics that Colin Newman sang.
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Format: Audio CD
According to AllMusic.com regarding the extra tracks: "The original 1989 CD issue by Restless Retro features four bonus tracks from an experimental EP issued with some copies of the vinyl LP." I don't know why Amazon lists these tracks on the remastered CD, they're not there.
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Format: Audio CD
This has to be the first truly great Wire cd, certainly the best

one in their first incarnation. 154 is filled with all the nihilistic, murky, schizophrenic variety that made it their finest achievement. 154 takes a few steps further from Chairs Missing and makes no apologies for where it takes the listener.In a nutshell, 154 takes one to a dreamy, crazy place with many questions and no answers. A place of musical paranoia and lyrical madness. Right from the start, 154 lures the listener into a wonderous, surrealistic soundscape. Even if there are a few cuts that hark back to Pink Flag (On Returning, Two People In a Room) and Chairs(Mutual Friend), the rest is the next step in Wire's intriguing evolution. Maybe some would place "The 15th" and Single KO" as also Chairs-influenced, but I would say that those two are murkier, and less accessible than "Outdoor Miner".

With that said, the rest ventures into unprecedented instru-mentation and novel melodies. Frontman, Colin Newman, shines on "Indirect Inquiries" and "Forty Versions" as well as on "The 15th", my favorite by the way. The meshing of schizophrenic lyrics with twisted guitar licks, bass, and flexible drumming, speaks volumes. Right hand, Graham Lewis, steps forth and takes center on some cuts (Touching Display, Other Window). The album opener, "I Should've Known Better", begins with Lewis singing and not Newman, another indicator that things were really changing.

154 is rather hard to categorize, like the band itself, aside from declaring it post-punk. Basically, it is a surreal blend of Pink Floyd, The Clash, and The Cure. It is an integral piece in the post-punk catalogue. And amazingly, not surprisingly, the cd is still influential and referenced to this day.
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By PLS on March 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I was blessed to grow up in Oz during this period of great musical evolution. The Saints and Radio Birdman charged the senses in the mid-70's to aspire you to listen to 'great music'. Both bands first three albums fit into this category of 'great'. Not one bad song amongst a plethora of power and energy. Such joy!
Very few bands of any era can boast of such. WIRE is one. An amazing array and combination of sounds and words that evolve over the first three albums that can only be classified as 'GREAT'. Of all three albums, which I bought when they were first released, '154' is in my top 5 albums of all time. Knowing and loving the transition through all three WIRE albums, '154' came as the biggest surprise on first listening. It is a wonderous collaboration between four talented musicians who pushed all the boundaries to produce something so unique that it demanded unlimited listenings to try and work out all the nuances that made this so audio-addictive. The moods, the themes, the riffs, the sound effects, the singing.....the every part of it is wonderous and rare. Open your heart and your mind, play it at all different volumes and times, only then will you realise that it deserves a place in your collection.
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