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    Well, I did specifically reject the simplistic assessment that Bruce = noise. He brought the least conventional approach to the music—sounds over what we would normally call music; often noisy but, yes, also subtle, tho rarely what we'd regard as conventional music—and that often made the results so remarkable. This isn't to shit on the other three at all or on RBT, only to emphasize that BG's contributions were absolutely vital to making Wire such an unsettling and bizarre pleasure. I love huge swaths of CN's, GL's, and BG's solo material and in combination, but rarely does and of that work as well as the stuff the four of them together.
    The funny thing is, I think practically no-one really knows what goes on in Wire and who does what. One of the sweetest tracks during the Send era was Trash/Treasure, which you'd think was mostly Colin, but Bruce drove a lot of that track.
    Having witnessed Wire/Wir in both rehearsal and in the studio I can say that the harmony vs. noise argument leads nowhere.
    Colin and Graham were/are equally capable of creating the noisiest noise or the sweetest harmony if required. Bruce did not hold the monopoly on noise and some of Wire's sweetest moments have been Bruce's.
    I suppose that the dynamic has changed from four men in a room to three men in a room and that's bound to have an affect on the final aural evidence.
    I think we just have to accept that Bruce has gone and that Wire are a different animal now.

    There have been a number of times when we thought Wire were a thing of the past and that there wouldn't be any further releases. Every new releases is a bonus. If they were releasing stinkers then I'd be the first to complain, but they're not. And even a slightly lesser Wire album like O47 is better than most things out there. And I feel fairly confident that come the end of the 2011 I won't have heard too many better records than RBT. But each to his own and all that.
    Wire is a completely different kind of beast without Bruce. But the fact they are still on the scene may we all be truly thankful. Even the fans with mixed feelings about RBT (which I still can't work out) must agree with that.

    And you're spot on Keith: O47 had some dazzling moments – and if RBT doesn't feature in the end-of-year critical round-ups then the game really is bent.

    I bet Q put Liam Gallagher and his lame Beady Eye in their best of 2011 list and ignore the ever-immense Wire. Just watch!
    Kevin Says
    "Colin and Graham were/are equally capable of creating the noisiest noise or the sweetest harmony if required. Bruce did not hold the monopoly on noise and some of Wire's sweetest moments have been Bruce's. "

    Good to have this confirmed by an eyewitness. I've always suspected the idea that Bruce was 'the noisy one' or 'the weird one' was a misconception. One of the most extreme noises you'll hear on a Wire record is Graham's solo contribution to 'It's All in the Brochure' (t.i.t.l.e), and pop videos and songs don't come much odder than Colin's 'B'.
    OMG, Bruce isn't on the new album!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So what?

    The album is brilliant - this is Wire at their best (with or without Bruce).

    I know this is just my opinion, but I really can't see/hear what people are moaning for - to me this is the most awesome thing that Wire could possibly have done - this album is closer to the original sound of the band that we have had since 1979 - the sound they were originally looking for!!

    Please forgive me if I have annoyed you, but... ...this is WIRE.
    Re: Graham and "noise", anyone listened to Pre>He lately?
    Just to clarify here, I'm not suggesting that CN or GL are incapable of abstract noise or subtle textures—their solo work demonstrates otherwise. Likewise, I'm not suggesting that BG was incapable of coming up with a fine melody, conventional or otherwise. But I think we run the risk of heading into a corner that says that each man is the same as the rest—they're all melody, they're all noise, they're interchangeable, where BG's departure fundamentally means nothing because the others have got it all covered. My original point was about the inclination of each man, and if you're forced to come up with a simple grouping, I don't think it's outrageous to say that BG was more about odd sounds and structures than about melodies. His solo work, I think, demonstrates where his inclinations lie. I'm not talking absolutes or exclusivity here, where you can pull this song or that to refute the general statement. Nor is it about hierarchies, where noise is better than melody, rhythm is less interesting that arrangement, etc. It's just about where each element's dominant contributions tend to fall. I mean, seriously, when we found out that BG had left but the other three were soldiering on, did anyone really think that the sound would become more abstract or that it would have zero change at all? It's no insult to suggest that each man brings their own strengths and agenda to the project, and that these aspects differ.
    All I can say is I still remember seeing Wire live the first time, or Wire on the Box, or the Scottish Play, etc. and consistently being surprised to find that my assumptions about "who-did-what" between Colin and Bruce were often completely incorrect. Yes, I initially imagined - based on solo work - that the melodic bits were always Colin and the noisier bits always Bruce. Wrong!

    Extend that concept outward, and no, you can't really pigeonhole any of them - even Robert. I adore his drumming in its "natural" state, but I must say that I find his programming on much of Manscape to be quite exquisite as well. "positions are shifted", indeed.

    So. Take one of them out? Thus far it still sounds like Wire, be it The First Letter, or the album Ambitious (reputedly Colin-free), or the last few releases. I don't think at all that the point here is "oh, well, take one of them out and the rest will fill in the gaps 'cuz they're basically interchangeable", nor do I believe that any of them would specifically go out of their way to decide "hmm. not weird enough. what would Bruce do?" I think what I was getting at by mentioning Pre>He was that they're all versatile, and not necessarily attached to their "expected" interests (Bruce included, who has some moments of extraordinary melodic beauty on Insiding and Music For Fruit).

    Somehow - and I don't think any of us, even Wire themselves, would be able to accurately explain it - when there is Wire activity, it's Wire. They've said that 1,000 times. When there was Dome activity, it was Dome. And so on. A-Z is, to me, the only album that isn't called Wire that might have been - but since a lot of the songs started with Wire it's really no surprise. Not To, while being a wee bit similar to A-Z, sounds far less like Wire to me - possibly because that mode of thinking had more time to wear off for Colin and Robert.

    In short, Wire seems to be more about overall intention than individual contribution.
    We're probably not as far apart in our interpretation as what might seem—a matter of emphases, perhaps. For example, I wholeheartedly agree that "Wire seems to be more about overall intention than individual contribution," but my concern is that by arguing that CN and GL are capable of some fantastic fucked up noise—Pre>He is an excellent example, btw—or that BG could do melody, it does limit the notion of individual strength, perspective, and contribution. Yes, the three-piece does still sound like Wire, whatever that actually means (that is, we know it when we hear it, but nailing it down is probably impossible), and I have no doubt that they don't second-guess themselves and seek to add faux Bruce-ism to the mix to be more "authentic." But I'm reluctant to somehow assess each of their inclinations so similarly—each with a similar proportion and ability and agenda towards one form of music/sound as the other. It's about the tension—that, too, has been a common theme in any histories of and interviews with the group—and to have tension there has to be internal competition and compromises. So there are different strengths and ideas about how to go about things, and I have no problem resting on the belief that, of a band that is quite unconventional in vision and approach, BG is the least conventional and least frequently drawn to a straight-forward song that the others. Again, not some kind of slam at the others at all because a fair chunk of BG's solo stuff (Ab Ovo and In Esse come to mind) are flat-out unappealing to me. But whereas both CN and GL have released albums that have had pop ambitions or accessibility to the non-Wire aficionado, there's nothing in BG's catalogue that suggests pop leanings or an easy listen. Can anyone imagine him recording a pop record on his own? In concert with others, definitely—Wire is exhibit A. Once again, I'm just talking about inclinations, not absolutes.

    edit: My question, I think, would be to ask what, specifically, did BG bring to the group more so than the others? Likewise, what do the others brings to the group that is not easily replicated?
    That's a question I'm certainly not qualified to answer. At the end of the day my main conclusion would be: Wire is different without Bruce, that's inevitable, but I don't think they've suffered. They've still got the dugga.
    Suffered on O47, imo, tho Bruce or no is an unanswerable question; it's just a generally uninteresting effort based on what I expect of Wire. But, oh yeah, RBT is one solid album from start to finish, and that's coming from someone who regards Send (hell, Send Ultimate, because there's more of it) as his favourite Wire album. In some respects, my disappointment with O47 makes RBT all the more satisfying, proving that they can still generate something so damn good, even minus a key member.
    Madman, got to agree with you.
    My thoughts on RBT (which I haven't purchased-yet) are that it's 'a nod and a wink' at Manscape, not the 'fullness' of that fine album, a stripped down updated version, I enjoyed MS when it came out, barely play it now.............
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 26th 2011)
    my unmoaned question would be similar to Dr. Medulla's second one: given how good RBT is (and granted that it's in its honeymoon phase right now for many of us), what happened on O47? And as a way of possibly answering that, I would want to return to the recent intriguing q&a: Colin said that the remaining 3 agreed that "a plan" was necessary to make O47: What was it?
    I realize everyone's opinion is their own, but I am intrigued by a growing trend in this tread - a view of Object 47 that has turned into something along the lines "oh, thank goodness they didn't do THAT again with RBT". Did the folks here who don't seem to like it much just not mention it back in '08? I seem to remember the collective forum vibe being quite good when that album appeared.

    For me, O47 fulfilled the promise that R&B3 showed, and I still quite enjoy just about the whole album (even Patient Flees, though only if I'm listening to the album front-to-back) and find it to be a very strong predecessor to/anticipation of RBT - if that is what people are now accepting as the gold standard of Wire Mk. Whatever. As far as the Bruce/No Bruce question and whether or not they suffered on O47 from his absence, I definitely have to disagree. If nothing else All Fours is worthy of inclusion in any overview of Wire I could come up with, and if singles were still a worthwhile commodity/vehicle, One Of Us would (again, in my opinion) have been amongst their best.
    RE STRAYS EP .....................what a cool ep, that version of boiling boy is superb
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 26th 2011 edited)
    7jlong - I have the same memory about O47's reception, but I don't think I contributed to it, at least about the full album. I do quite like the 2 songs you mention at the end of your post, and right now that's about it, though most of it's of course listenable. But the tendency to hype an album on its release and then downgrade it once the next one comes out is annoying but common, especially with the anticipatory delivery systems of today, where most people who are going to buy a record do it almost immediately b/c they're already fans (why I mentioned a honeymoon phase). Actually I think I disappeared from here pretty soon after (or after the gigs I attended in NY, which were superb... can't remember if these came before or after the album release), and returned only recently on news of the upcoming album.
    7jlong : I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'd also like to stress that RBT is a great album. So is O47 & Send. I like all 3 albums. I'm also glad they happen to be by Wire, irrespective of whoever plays on the album. All this chin stroking is doing my head in.
    My memory my be faulty, but I think I just kept my lip buttoned re. my disappointment with O47. Other than "One of Us" and "All Fours," it just felt very flat to me, no spark. That said, most of the live versions I heard from O47 were pretty damn decent, so my criticism is probably more with how it was recorded, tho I'm rather thick when it comes to analyzing/discussing those types of things. I seem to recall CN suggesting at the time that emphasis was to focus on the rhythm section for that album rather than guitars. An experiment that didn't work for my ears, perhaps.