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  1.  
    it is, minus Bruce.
    but i think the album should be judged for what it is regardless of this line-up change (as much as Bruce's absence still hurts and yes i do miss his guitars and his ideas too).
    personally i like RBT, quite a lot despite a few tracks that don't really make me go crazy (funny enough smash and adapt, together with two minutes, are among them). and i definitely do not find it "worse" (meaning liking it less) than Manscape, IBTABA, The First Letter or O47.
    oh well, everybody has his own taste, obviously.
  2.  
    Each to his own indeed. Strays is an odd one for me. Boiling Boy is majestic, He Knows is a 'nice to have' and Underwater Experiences is great to finally have in a studio version. German Shepherds doesn't sit right with me either though. It feels a bit 'jaunty pop', losing its atmosphere and the vocal melody's a bit odd. Still, three out of four (for me) isn't a bad hit-rate.
  3.  
    On the topic of Strays, I have to agree with an observation that Dr. Medulla made a few posts back and ask: did anyone else listen to the opening measures of German Shepherds and find themselves singing "an unseen ruler defines with geometry..."?
  4.  
    @ 7jlong: I agree with your comment regarding the opening bars of the 'updated' German Shepherds
    sounding like the start of Map Ref. I was at the Melbourne gig and when they played G Shepherds i think
    i wasn't the only one singing "an unseen ruler defines with geometry..."! Maybe its a musical joke or
    purely coincidental..who knows?....he knows.

    I think the original version has a more entrancing, haunted atmosphere than the current 'pop-chime'
    re-interpretation.
  5.  
    @hippriest are you on The Fall forum? There is a guy with a similar name who seems to slate everything they do...this doesn't go down well...but that is a far less genial place than this (it has animated GIF smilies...ugh!).
  6.  
    To R Swimmer

    I used to be a regular at The Fall forum but abandoned contributing when it became clear that many of the posters there are seriously deranged. One prominent contributor actually boasted of the fact that The Fall had been mentioned at every one of the Relate marriage guidance sessions attended by he and his wife. Another saddo posts endless ramblings about why Beggars Banquet should release exactly what he wants in a new box set, clearly having absolutely no life beyond The Fall and the forum. It's funny at first, then sad, and finally a bit disturbing. And no, I wasn't using the name hippriest there ... he/she is an interloper!

    Also, there are some people there (ie, LOTS) who are rude, offensive and personally insulting beyond belief. Someone decided to make fun of my job loss/financial worries and that was the last straw. That's the problem with the internet: sad little men hurling abuse from the safety of a PC when they wouldn't say boo to a goose in 'real life'. Still, at least they're not on the streets. But I believe respect and politeness are important even on the internet. But then, I still call CDs 'records'!

    For the record I like Fall music mainly from these time periods:

    77 - 84
    92 - 94
    96

    I went off them after the REAL Fall split in 1998, I carried on buying everything for another ten years in the hope of another good album, finally had to give up (ten years of crap is too much even for me).

    Having said all that, my Beggars-years (84-89) 2-cd comp is on regular rotation, but that's because I edited out all the rubbish! Oh yes, and there are two glowing gig reviews from me in the Wonderful And Frightening 4-cd set!

    SO: I love who/what I love, but never to the point of uncritical sycophancy. And I have bought every Wire release, Fall release (up to 2008), every XYZ (etc) release so I certainly put my money in the bands' pockets!

    But enough negativity ... I've commented on RBT/Strays and there's no need for me to bum out anyone by saying any other bad things about it, so consider my comments on RBT closed!

    Sorry about the ramblings etc etc ...
  7.  
    So you like The Fall but don't like Blindness? I didn't know that was possible!
  8.  
    Interview with Colin about RBT and more besides here:

    http://www.emusic.com/features/spotlight/2011_201101-qa-colin-newman-wire.html
  9.  
    To Keith
    I like loads of tracks outside of my designated time frames but the years stated are my 'core' years for Fall greatness.

    Blindness is okay - esp in the QEH live version and the Peel session, although by the time it finally appeared on the wretched-beyond-words Fall Heads Roll LP I'd gotten tired of it. It is ultimately an attempt to ape the Hanley bass-driven monsters of the glory years, though, don't you think? (Probably not, but I do!)

    Maybe a separate Fall-thread is required, although I'm not really a big Fall follower/listener anymore, I just pick up the affordable fancy reissues of the old (pre-98) albums and then bemoan buying the same records for the umpteenth time (I think I have 4 or 5 versions of Perverted By Language ... )

    I actually used to buy every comp and live release too ... good grief ...
  10.  
    Thank for the emusic link, R Swimmer. One of the better bits of recent promo done for RBT. Two things that stood out and amused:
    <<I'd sit on the couch, play a bit, if I had some words from Graham, jam 'em in, record it to my iPhone, then I'd present a bunch of songs to Rob and Graham. Rob said, [derisively] "It sounds like the '70s" and Graham said, "I hate acoustic guitar," so I knew we were onto a winner. That's so classic Wire.>>

    <<We did this thing at the Barbican a few years ago. It was Pink Flag in the first part and Send in the second part. And the staff had written in the wings, just where we were about to go on, "Wire: Four great guys, one great chord." Malka and I were talking to Rhys Chatham, and he said, "It's all one chords." I said, "Which one?" I knew which one, but I just had to ask. It's always E.>>

    This, however, was curious:
    <<When Bruce left, there was an album half-done. That was what turned into Read and Burn 3. We followed that with a bunch of touring. In 2008 and 2009 we toured a lot. At the end of that period, my feeling was we should do it a different way.>>

    That's different from what I understood R&B3 to be, which was essentially the present trio with some previously recorded Bruce bits added. Not quite Threetles style, but not a proper Wire four piece either. This sounds more like four guys in a studio did R&B 3. Can anyone clarify this? Craig?
  11.  
    I'm not sure, and the timeline isn't always easy to figure out, because Bruce didn't do some sort of RAGE QUIT—he just sort of made himself unavailable over a period of time. My understanding of what Colin's said there is that there were new tracks being worked on during the period after Send, which equated to a 'half done' album, and these evolved into R&B 03, enabling Wire to get something new out the door.
  12.  
    As a fan of Wire since 77, as someone who would always consider them his favourite band and who has always probably enjoyed their bloodymindedness in never repeating themselves, I find RBT a bit perplexing. It's the first time Wire have openly re-quoted themselves and the effect in my ears has been a disappointment. In some ways it reminds of the CD of cover versions of Wire or Elastica. But there's very little of the challenge of Wire of old.

    I am pleased it's got generally very positive reviews, and I'm still waiting for that Later with Jools appearance or even a Mercury shortlist to lift their profile...

    Unfortunately, without Bruce an edge has gone, just as without Robert I thought their soul had gone. I'm afraid RBT is down there with Wir and Drill in my list. Yes, I like the return to a more tuneful Wire. But not a whole CD of it. I listen to The Vaccines and sense what is missing on the rock score or Dels Trumpalump which subverts Rap by simply going off to another place like Wire used to do with punk and rock and I'm underwhelmed with RBT..

    The Title track however points to an entirely new direction again. And they're still my favourite band.
  13.  
    23 Years Too Late is derived from Dip Flash, the Barbican/Ian Sinclair event piece, which very definitely included Bruce's input. I always saw that as a dry run for a potential future version of Wire, not based on guitars and drums.
  14.  
    Many thanks to R Swimmer for the link to a quite illuminating Colin interview. I could read all day about the dynamics of Wire and their context/points of reference etc.

    I'm still perplexed by the negative vibes from some of the forum contributors. Are the melodies not good enough? Do the lyrics not stand up? Is the innovation lacking?

    I genuinely think this is the strongest set of Wire songs since the first three albums. The melodies are really strong, the lyrics as cryptic/serious/funny as they always are. Chrissakes, these songs bring a smile to my face even when I'm out walking the dog with my ipod. Simple fact: These guys have delivered the goods yet again!

    How many bands can you say that about 35 years down the line?!
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 23rd 2011)
     
    "Are the melodies not good enough? Do the lyrics not stand up? Is the innovation lacking? "

    I'm not disagreeing with you on the merits of the album, but couldn't the first 2 questions be answered with a yes (meaning, "yes, the melodies are good," etc., not "yes, the melodies are not good"!), and still the third with a no? I don't think the appeal of classic Wire for me boils down to a formula of strong melodies, lyrics, and innovation; there's a more complex and perhaps delicate or organic balance of elements.

    in other words, I'm enjoying the album about as much as it sounds like you are, but I see the perspective of a Toxfly as well. There's nothing really blistering on RBT, and by that I don't necessarily mean in terms of guitar riffs or fast tempos but rather a bracing or challenging statement. But there is depth of emotion (primarily from Colin's side, I think... but am not sure).
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 23rd 2011)
     
    on the emusic interview: fascinating but often disjointed and circumlocutious. This a case where it might have helped for the journalist to write up the interview into a more narrative format, rather than pasting in a transcription. Questions unanswered:

    would anyone think Bruce loved being in a "rock band"? All I know is from a few interviews and clips of the guy, and I'd have guessed he sure didn't. Or in fact that he might have most enjoyed the act of publicly not loving being a rock band while actually being in one (and which he wasn't for many years in between 1979 and 2000, right?). Do any of them love it, besides Colin?

    what was the "reason" the other 3 had "to start talking" in 2006?

    what was "the plan" for O47?

    what was, or still is, the perceived relevance of hip hop's 1980s working method ("assemblage") to Wire?

    "things didn't go" in the dance-rock direction that Send uniquely forged: So? How should this affect what we think about it as its own work?

    I'm surprised how trend-oriented Colin comes off in this interview. If in widely shifting contexts--hip hop changes how all records are produced, yet the "direction" of other groups in the postpunk genre is something to keep watching. Except if they're the Fall.
  15.  
    Toxfly said:
    <<Unfortunately, without Bruce an edge has gone, just as without Robert I thought their soul had gone.>>

    That is, fundamentally, my view, even tho I love RBT on its own terms. The beauty of Wire has always been the many competing impulses and tensions, and Bruce always offered a discord that made sure the songs were a bit unsettling. They produced some great tuneful pop, but there was always an edge that kept it from being easy-to-consume for the average music fan. Always some weirdness to it (and this is not to say that Bruce was always responsible for the weirdness, just that he was the one who seemed to have that as primary in mind; I don't want to suggest silly dichotomies where Colin = melody and Bruce = noise because it's not that simple, even if that's where, in general, both men's strongest contributions lie). So, with a few exceptions on RBT ("Moreover," notably), the sound is much smoother, less jarring/noisy. Send is still my favourite Wire album (followed closely by CM and 154) because it married better than they ever did before that noise impulse with something tuneful. RBT was a real make-or-break for me after the disappointment of O47—the weakest Wire album, imo, even more so than Manscape or The First Letter (both of which, oddly enough, have really grown on me in the last couple months)—and I'm pleased/relieved with the results. But I still can't help but think that it'd be much better with Bruce's wrenches thrown into the gears.
  16.  
    For what it's worth, I don't think the smoothness of RBT is down to a lack of Bruce—I think it's more down to that being the direction they wanted to move in.
  17.  
    I would suggest, however, that "they" no longer includes Bruce, so the result is still, arguably, due to a lack of Bruce.
  18.  
    I think it's wrong to assume that Bruce automatically equals abrasive noise. Have you heard his recent stuff? Quite gentle, shifting tones.