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    Mojo’s Disc of the day is 154 – the “Swansong of Gilbert-Newman-Lewis-Gotobed calls time on Golden Decade of UK art rock.”

    When Wire convened (or rather de-convened, of which more later) to record their third album for Harvest, they were not the united front that had annexed art-punk all for their very own with their scabrous 1977 debut, Pink Flag, and the following year's cubist-pop masterpiece Chairs Missing. Buying themselves onto a tour with Roxy Music hadn't helped, and the vision of this once-vital group reduced to the Ferry-centric lounge lizardry of Manifesto had sown more seeds of existential discomfort. Wire's way of working had become more fractured, too, alienated from itself, and yet the resultant dislocation and froideur made for thrilling avant-pop. Though Wire worked in shifts, The White Album this ain't, and the band's personalities are seen in fascinating combinations, perfectly encapsulated in the bookish new wave of Map Ref. 41°N 93°W, where Graham Lewis's Borgesian lyric ("a deep breath of submission had begun") is artfully shoehorned into an almost sprightly melody and typical art-urchin vocal by Colin Newman. Elsewhere, the gothic toll of Lewis's I Should Have Known Better ("I haven't found a measure yet to / Calibrate my displeasure yet") defines the uneasy tone (what on earth were they reading) while faint echoes of Bowie-Eno, Pete Brown and Alex Harvey seem to call time on the golden decade of British art rock. 154 held a mirror up to life, then broke it, and while the press reviews sounded a note of universal acclamation, it was also the death knell of Wire's fecund first phase. They would be back, but changed.
    Danny Eccleston