Friday, March 05, 2004

#53) Wire - Pink Flag (released in 1977, I bought a copy on CD at Arboria in high school. I accidently left without paying - this can happen when you've been chatting with the clerk for a while - but I was nice enough to come back)

Combining the buzzsaw energy of the Ramones with the structural imagination of Brian Eno, Pink Flag is a startlingly deft punk album, more like a strategic missile attack then a riot. Though they make you aware of their deconstructive interests by the second track, the half-minute long “Field Day For The Sundays,” the musical violence and taut rhythms keep the album from feeling remotely poncey. While every song consists of the standard rock instrumentation, the 21 songs that fill the original 3/4 hour album gradually lose their blurring effect and reveal their distinctive traits. The sarcastic groove of “Lockdown,” the anthemic “Ex-Lion Tamer,” the gorgeous, dismissive “Mannequin,” “12XU”’s breathless pulse, the profane “Mr. Suit.” The cornucopia of musical pleasure seems slightly at odd with the political content of the lyrics – their mastery of what writer Eric Weisbard called “the dynamic capacities of [punk’s] outwardly ugly, secretly beautiful sound” is so great that it’s hard to notice anything else (though the band’s own lyrical evolution implies they weren’t in this to make messages anyhow). Art-punk starts here.

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