Colin Newman's voice remains a weak, teasing, facetious tool, piping clever-clever absurdist quasi-nonsense. On the jittery Forward Position he is a reproachful presence, reprimanding a hapless wrong-doer in decidedly sinister style: "I am black box, I remember/Every promise that you broke."
Each song is a honed, baleful exercise in minimalist and yet whimsical efficiency. All but one weigh in around the three-minute mark: what pop purists! Numbered has the buzzing, oblique intensity of their Elastica-inspiring old track I Am The Fly, and Newman's nasal whine of "Believing in something, believing in nothing" is perfect: Wire are the most agnostic of bands.
As ever, sentiment is anathema to them, as is bombast: Still's sarcasm-drenched "Inside, outside, above and beyond" could be a barbed rebuke to the faux-profound gnomic gibberish of so many bands. Without decent tunes, it could be forbiddingly arid. Luckily, Wire are masters of melody.
Every Wire album features one track sung by bassist Graham Lewis, and the closing Fishes Bones finds him booming, "The back door's open! Are you needing a boost?" like Mark E Smith at his most sublimely wanton. Wire are as they were, as they forever will be, and all the better for it.
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