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    As an 'object', RBT is the best thing Wir(e) have done since The First Letter. Which was 20 years ago.

    I'm rather chuffed with it, I have to say. Given Send is a bunch of shouty punk bollocks and O47 is more miss than hit, I'm delighted they're back on form.

    Great work.
    Still getting to know RBT, but must say that I was really looking forward to Strays track Underwater Experiences, a highlught of gigs way back when. Unfortunately, though pretty much the same version as they played in Manscape times, it falls a long way short of that live rendition, for me at least.

    Now if they were to play THAT version at the Scala I'd forgive them........! (Pretty please)
    I've only got the Exploded Views version from that era, which is like a slightly bouncy electronic version of the UE played from the late 1970s on (bar the 'chorus', which works quite nicely). I think my favourite UE remains the one where I extracted the audio from some online video or other (Lee's Palace, IIRC).
    Found the video Craig, thanks for that! Just given the Exploded Views version another spin, and I'm beginning to think my judgement and memory have been clouded by an old VHS video I saw of them at Reading - poor quality but UE was absolutely brilliant! It may well have been due to the inferior recording that added something to the song perhaps?

    Anyway, I shouldn't have made my initial post so negative, always happy to get a free/bonus Wire cd :)
    RBT and Strays arrived yesterday and 3 back to back plays later I commend it the to populace.

    I love the title track (along with other tracks) and I hope that this new dynamic and sonic exploration continues apace.

    Well done guys!
    I only ordered RBT yesterday then broke down and listened to it streaming.
    I'm incredibly happy with this album. Much better produced and sequenced
    than O47. I'm excited to get a physical copy.

    I have a couple of questions - Is the Strays still available? And does it come
    with the LP also?

    A lovely release -
    I asked Des earlier, and, yes, some copies of Strays are still available.
    A friend in the UK who already received Strays was kind enough to share with me while I wait for my copy to make its way across the Atlantic. My brief thoughts:
    (1) Boiling Boy. Much better than the ABiaC version, tho I'm still partial to the harsher guitar sound employed on the IBTABA version. Nevertheless, this is an excellent version that justifies considering the song as one of the best in the band's catalogue.
    (2) German Shepherds. A slightly lighter, poppier version than on the Silk Skin Paws single or IBTABA. It holds together quite nicely. The bass line seems quite close to that of the demo or live versions of Map Ref (or am I imagining things).
    (3) He Knows. I've never been as keen on the live versions as others—it's always reminded me too much of "A Public Place," a song that's never done anything for me at all. That said, by the third play I started to warm to it. I'll probably never love it, but I'm less likely to skip over it.
    (4) Underwater Experiences. Ah, the song more than any that I was looking forward to as I've loved pretty much every version I've heard. I would have liked something a bit more out of control (akin to the Document and Eyewitness versions), but, holy hell, this take is more than satisfying. Like "Pink Flag" and "Drill," "Underwater Experiences" is one of those songs that I cite to the unfamiliar and say, "If you get this, you get Wire."

    Overall, I'd give it a solid B+, perhaps even A-. The two 80s re-recordings also demonstrate the value of real drums, which add to the evidence that at least part of the weakness of 80s Wire was the absence of Rob's live drums. The results are definitely appealing enough that I'd love to hear more revisitations of old tracks.
    "The results are definitely appealing enough that I'd love to hear more revisitations of old tracks."

    Mm. Just listen to The Queen of Ur (from 21 July 1988 Astoria, London) from the freebie downloads page and imagine THAT done in proper studio fashion. And then imagine the rest of Bell being done. And Ahead.
    Hell yeah. While I've listened to the 00's boots more than the others—the Send version of Wire is probably the closest to my ideal copy of Wire, noisy yet still very catchy—but those 80s boots confirm that there was absolutely nothing weak about the songs. Something just didn't quite translate in the studio (drums were definitely one thing; between Strays and the boots, this has been a total validation for Rob's role in the band). The boots have also been a bit of a revelation that, given that Wire has a bit of a rep for being a studio band (lots of nooks and crannies and weird little effects to be discovered), they're a fantastic live act and have been for some time.
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 11th 2011)
    hmm... preference for live drums granted, I listen to the '80s albums very frequently! Not sure they need to be improved/repaired through revisitation, though I'm of course interested to hear Strays. I do like the It's Beginning to version of "Finest Cups" (as did the band, presumably, since it opens the album) but otherwise I consider the other versions simply as alternatives, not replacements.

    (is it true that the drums on IC and Bell aren't live? Are they sampled from tapes of Robert playing? I thought that came later...)
    As far as I recall, the way the drums were done on IC and Bell was for Rob to 'play' into a sequencer, which then built MIDI information that played back samples. Ultimately, though, there's none of his performance in there. It's essentially a heavily quantised drum machine with rhythms based around Rob's patterns. Robert also thought he'd been 'booted out' again when Wire started working on new material, due to the metronomic nature of the drums, but of course this time it was Colin cutting and pasting actual Rob performances into ProTools (which is a major difference, since it does retain elements of the performance). With the latest album, it's clear more of those aspects have been retained. (Note that with modern Wire—indeed, most modern bands—'performances' of all other instruments are in the same position. The studio is largely cut and paste.)

    I'm also not suggesting the 1980s albums should be 'replaced', and there are some tracks that I think work better on the albums (such as Cheeking Tongues, which was pretty terrible live); however, some tracks have interesting alternate takes (I like Ahead on IC, but the live versions are also great) and some are a revelation (such as Queen of Ur, which suddenly takes on menace and power when played live).
    Re RBT - I currently have a bone to pick with Wire

    How dare they write and record such a fantastic track as "Adapt"! After hearing it at the Lexington, listening to the album track and with last night's Rough Trade version still fresh in the memory, I can't rid it from my bonce - it's hard to get any bloody work done!
    I love reading the intelligent and diverse opinions about this record. It helps me see other perspectives in a familial environment and keeps me in constant learn mode. Don't see any of the vile, acid tongued disrespect for posters that has kept me away from, or in lurk mode at other sites. It's not about us right? Regardless of like or dislike, it's probably safe to say that "they" play for no one but themselves and we benefit from that approach. Everything else is just a question of degree.
    Quite interesting to listen back to the tape of the Highbury Garage gig from last year as I'd forgotten there are two more 'Strays' which didn't make it to Red Barked Tree. 'Because'(?) which I really rather like and would have slotted in well on RBT and the other one was 'Up From Above' which I thought wasn't quite up to scratch.
    These would have been good B Sides in the old days of course!

    More Wire in the music press,
    The excellent Word Magazine haven't reviewed RBT but they have included 'Clay' on their cover mount CD this month (the one with Tom Waits and Beefheart on the cover)
    leefact25 : how was the Rough Trade showcase ?? Do you have a set list etc and how many punters turned up?.
    Was planning to go with Lynda originally but she was oop north and then I couldn't make it either.Gutted. See you at Scala.

    (I'm that sarcastic fella from SP !!!!)
    nobrainer: epidemic27 posted this in the 2011 tour thread:

    Rough Trade videos
    Link is to a playlist of the 11 songs I filmed.

    Please, if the band want these removed, just let me know and I will take them down.

    It's basically a "Playlist with moving pictures and sound" :-)
    Thanks , I did see that thread but after I posted !!!

    Unfortunately I can't access the links from my work PC so I'll have to wait til i get home at 4pm.
    No Brainer - yes I know exactly who you are! Yep - just to confirm cartoonists's post - those 11 songs on the youtube playlist constituted the entire set - no encores. Bad Worn Thing had never been played live anywhere before - Red Barked Trees had been played live as part of the Radio 6 session but never before a gigging audience. Great gig and pretty packed - probably capacity (250 according to the bouncer on the door who was counting us as we went through).
    And if anyone's interested in the soundcheck at Rough Trade, Robin Rimbaud has uploaded two videos onto YouTube:

    Direct Link

    All in all, Rough Trade was a relatively short gig, but definitely worth it; also, it was free for all. In fact I've been told they would only play live for about 20mins and was really surprised when it went on and on. Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can only recommend seeing the band live whenever they're in your area.