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UK remastered pressing. Wire's 3 Harvest released album's in the 70's are often referred to as a kind of accelerated development Triptych. The dfferences between the reductive minimalism of 1977's Pink Flag and the layered baroque (albeit still minimalistic) of 1979's 154 show a staggering turn over of ideas, yet each album remains iconic. 1978's Chairs Missing represented perhaps the biggest conceptual leap made during this period of Wire and was widey misunderstood at the time yet it remains, to the band and production crew Wire's favourite 70's album. If Pink Fag proposed an almost cut & paste approach to deconstructing rock history Chairs Missing proposed something more radical, a definite futurism with much less influence from it's antecedents. Chairs Missing was at once more stark and more lush than it's predecessor and has exerted it's own influence on the course of cultural history having laid down one of the earliest (if not the earliest) blueprints for the genuinely post-punk aesthetic. Emi. 2006
- Product Dimensions : 4.75 x 5.25 x 0.5 inches; 2.63 Ounces
- Manufacturer : EMI
- Date First Available : July 27, 2006
- Label : EMI
- ASIN : B0006G87Z8
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #396,304 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
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Be wary when taking the CD out of the Digipack, though. The plastic used to hold the CD cracked when I took it out.
Top reviews from other countries
The suicide themed 'Another The Letter' is typically Wire - 1 minute and 6 seconds in length but without a single second wasted as keyboards swirl, guitars puncture and harmonies build to an abrupt, sudden climax.
The single 'I Am The Fly' is the menacing, chugging highlight of the album while 'Outdoor Miner' is on the surface an irresistable pop song, scratch the surface however and the lyrics reveal an obscurity and darkness to match every other track here. If there is one gripe I have about the album it is the length of 'Mercy' - at almost 6 minutes long the track is too long which is uncharacteristic of Wire who tend to keep their songs short and to the point.
Brooding, menacing, dark, unsettling, sometimes vibrant, definitely timeless. 'Chairs Missing' is an album that reveals it's hidden secrets to the listener over repeated listens, I simply never get bored of listening to this, Wires' masterpiece.
'Chairs Missing' these days seems to me one of the most influential albums, its blend of the angular, the avant, and something like pop can be detected in records found in its immediate wake - 'Dirk'-Adam & the Ants, Gang of Four, the Pop Group, 'No New York', Matt Johnson ('Burning Blue Soul' even featured Newman & Lewis) etc - and many that came after : Elastica, Blur, Franz Ferdinand, Minor Threat (who covered 12XU), Spoon, Radiohead, R.E.M. Wire are now cited as one of the key acts of the post-punk era alongside Pere Ubu, The Fall, Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle & PIL. And why not???
Opener 'Practise Makes Perfect' opens with hypnotic guitar Gilbert & Newman's composition the definition of angular as the song builds around repetition: WAITING, WAITING...and they tap into another world. Drones, metronomic-basslines and chiming riffs populate this record, 'French Film Blurred' shifting from warm avant-guitars to hints of feedback - a record that blurs from avant to disturb. 'Another the Letter' shows the band embrace synths, something they would advance on with the follow-up '154', the single 'A Question of Degree' (Depeche Mode's 'A Question of Time' obviously influenced) and the years on Mute that saw great albums like 'The Ideal Copy', 'A Bell is a Cup Until It Is Struck' & 'Manscape.' Wire here don't care about duration, and were duly viewed as prog - 'Practice Makes Perfect' about four-times as long as the average 'Pink Flag' track, while 'Mercy' pushes the six-minute mark and pushes towards later joys like 'A Touching Display' and 'Mutual Friend.'
There is pop, of sorts, here - including the bizarre (yet ineffably catchy) 'I Feel Mysterious Today', Lewis' math-glam-rocker 'Sand In My Joints' (imagine The Sweet after 'Marquee Moon'), and the gorgeous 'Outdoor Miner'- which is as sweet as a pop-song by Squeeze and predicts catchy later joys like 'Eardrum Buzz', 'Map Ref...', 'The 15th' and 'Kidney Bingos' (Lush would also cover it, if that means anything to you?). Single 'I am the Fly' is another key pop-moment, that metronomic-angular rock-pop in motion, I always think of Sparks' 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us' as it starts, though as seasoned riff-watchers will tell you, Blur's 'Girls & Boys', Elastica's 'Line Up', & Menswear's 'Daydreamer' all owe this one a bit of a debt (the sound of the mid 1990s, in the late 1970s!). The legendary Lester Bangs even wrote of this album's joys in the article 'A Bellyful of Wire' which is collected in 'Mainlines, Blood Feasts & Bad Taste.'
The highlight for me remains 'Heartbeat', one of the more epic tracks and a song that was later covered by Big Black (on the free single with the 'Headache' e.p.) and Low (a version was recorded in the early 1990s and was later reworked in 2004 to appear on box-set 'A Lifetime of Temporary Relief'). Bangs' saw Beckett here and reminded us of the bleak/minimal lyrics: "I feel icy/I feel cold/I feel old/Is there something behind me?/I'm sublime/I'm empty/I feel dark, I remark/I am mesmerised by my own beat/Like a heartbeat-" Great stuff and leading towards the darker, wider climes of 1979's masterpiece '154.'
'Chairs Missing' is the second part of the great trilogy Wire recorded for Harvest and a highlight of the late 1970s, as important as 'Unknown Pleasures', 'Metal Box', 'Cut', 'Y', 'Fear of Music', 'Real Life', 'Entertainment!' & lots of other records namechecked in lists and covered in 'Rip It Up and Start Again.' A great trilogy that was followed, after the art-**** of 'Document & Eyewitness' by Colin Newman's fantastic 'A/Z', the A.C Marias-Dome & He Said-projects and the return of a muter Wire (later Wir). Fantastic stuff, though Wire's recent work is as vital, as is Newman's label Swim...
Originally a review of the 2006 reissue...