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  1.  
    As a fan of both Prog and Wire I can't say that I agree that Wire are or were Prog Rock or necessarily even Punk. Their collective output has, however, clearly been informed by the sounds and equipment of each era just as much as the music of an era - perhaps if they'd been around in the early 70s they would have been a "difficult" Prog outfit but instead in the late 70s they were a "difficult" Punk group. Wire a definitely a progressive band but that doesn't mean Prog.

    The closest meeting of Pink Floyd and Wire I have found is by playing Another Brick In the Wall and The Lowdown either back to back or mixed together. It might be interesting to see when these songs were recorded - is The Lowdown a spoof of Another Brick (or could it be the other way round?)
  2.  
    Lowdown is 77. Brick is 79.

    The Wire/Prog discussion has been, er, raging for over 30 years. Make it stop!
  3.  
    "Make it stop!"

    Indeed!
  4.  
    Hear hear !!
  5.  
    Unlike Punk (supposedly), Post-Punk was heavily influenced by Prog. But what is prog, actually? Is it the generic term associated with bands like Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd (post-1972, of course) or is it so much other artists working in the early to mid-70's, whose albums were categorised as prog, just because they had to be classified somehow.
  6.  
    Putting bands into convenient brackets is fraught with problems. It's helpful in a way because there is more music out there than anyone could possibly hear in a lifetime so we need to create archetypes and label things, but at the same time it means bands get tagged with labels and ignored unfairly. If your entire knowledge of Wire was 12XU on a Punk compilation you might decide Wire are just generic 'Punk' and no more worth attention than the Cockney Rejects...the same would go for many bands from the 70s lazily tagged as 'Prog'.

    From watching too many documentaries about Punk and paying too much attention to the NME I grew up with the belief that all rock music prior to '76 was noodly rubbish full of wanky Organ solos (apart from the Krautrock bands, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind). Of course I now know that's a complete myth, and that there were bands like Gentle Giant and Henry Cow who were just as scary and off-the-wall as the Sex Pistols (plus there was loads of amazing Soul, Reggae and Disco music running concurrently). Plus there are things like Here & Now and Crass where the division between Hippiedom and Punk becomes incredibly blurred....
  7.  
    Mr Swimmer - how glad am i that you said that about hippies & punks. i have always thought (though maybe not during '76-82-ish) that there were so many similarities between them. not necessarily musically (but i can certainly see your point), but idealogically - outsiders, rejection of much that was going on around them, society's reaction to them.

    But then that could possibly be true of all youth cultures from teds & rockers, through mods & skins to hippies & punks (probably the last youth cult). I know for a fact if i'd been born in a different time, i'd've been any of these. We could go on, but somat like this deserves its own thread - I've even started writing an essay about 20th century youth cults - what i'll do with it once its finished is still undecided!
  8.  
    There's not a great time gap between "hippie" and "punk" - an 18-year-old hippie in 1969 could have been a 26-year-old punk in 1977. Younger than much of Wire, in fact ;-) Easy enough for those with open enough minds to follow the flow. Same reason a lot of late 80s rave culture was run by ex-punks in their late '20s, or Bripop being full of post-punk era types (Jarvis, Noel etc).
  9.  
    All this genre-attaching is pretty irrelevant now. I would call this album one thing - "154" - no more, no less. It's my favourite Wire album and if my entire record collection were to be stripped to just ten albums, this is one I would hold on to. Punk, prog, ambient flemish renaissance, baroque, call it what you like - it's just "154" to me and it exemplifies greatness IMHO.
  10.  
    Well said!!
  11.  
    Indeed. Brilliant album.
  12.  
    The Punk Floyd title is understandable when you have songs like 2 People In a Room, Once Is Enough, Blessed State, and A Mutual Friend on the same album. There will never be an album equal to 154, because the time has past.
  13.  
    I have also a certain affinity for 154. It was the one that I listened to a lot. It always seemed new after repeated listenings. It has certainly held up.
  14.  
    As someone who's probably spent more time with prog over the past 40 years than anyone possibly should... there are a few ways to look at what that term means - I myself tend to think of it as something that in a historical context, is temporal and best defined as an "era". there was a particular generation of men that were born in the mid 40s to early 50s that put out a body of work in the late 60s early 70s that sought to redefine what was known as "rock" music. thus "progressive" would be many disparate - as their constituents - styles of music emerging from the psychedelia of the mid late 60s: art rock, prog rock, kraut rock, jazz rock, electronic rock; all appeared however with a similar aim and ambition. The members of Wire were certainly of this generation (though Graham and Colin are youngsters), and Wire of course were ambitious! So...

    Are Wire "prog". Of course not. they were artists, not musicians. Are they "progressive"? Would I have ever listened to them if the weren't?!
  15.  
    Wire continue to be the darlings of the Classic Rock presents Prog magazine (with Jethro Tull on the cover) with positive reviews of both RBT and their Brighton gig.
    Of RBT they say: "Wire 2011 manage to walk the fine line between shimmering pop thrills and avant-garde dirt you can really get under your fingernails...Inspirational stuff."
    Of the Komedia, Brighton gig: "Art Rock is often at its most effective when all artifice is stripped away and noise becomes king, and this bolshy, bare-bones performance can hardly be faulted...Wire are still sharpening the cutting edge with admirable skill."
    Whether Wire are part of the Prog canon or not is still debatable. A good review is not.
  16.  
    Just stepping into this 23 Years too late :)

    One correction, the cor-anglais solo on "A Mutual Friend" was completely mine! I knew what I wanted there and I knew I wanted an oboe or cor-anglais. I sang the part to Mike to transcribe.

    Personally i don't find "prog"a dirty word any more than "kraut rock" or "jungle" come to that (they all have their origins in negative slang for styles of music). A lot depends on who & even more importantly when. "the yes Album" is great (especially "Yours Is No Disgrace) but "Close To the Edge" is horrible. All Pink Floyd (to whom Wire were compared as early as 1977) up to and including "Atom Heart Mother" is ok by me I can't listen to "Dark Side of The Moon", I also like early Genesis..

    The term "prog" started to get used in the 90's when it was a kind of descriptor of a certain kind of (usually German) ambient techno which had really long tracks. I guess you could say by that token the Orb were pretty prog..

    Is "154" a prog album? I guess it is if you want it to be. Not that Paul Lester has much that is sensible to say on any subject, he's probably still writing to pay alimony to the wife that ran off with the builder... Wire can move very fast when it's focussed and doesn't take prisoners. Why try to make a prog album (or an album in any specific style) when the option exists to crash together new styles and new ways of executing them . It's kind of like the punk argument. Wire just can't be classified as a punk band, too late & the wrong kind of music BUT there are plenty who argue that Wire is the ultimate punk band because we do what the fuck we like. So by that token maybe Wire are also prog? Or maybe it's all just semantics!
  17.  
    What was that about Wire being New Romantics? Pardon?
  18.  
    Or maybe it's all just semantics!

    Yes, this pigeonholing business is very tiresome. The point is: is the music any good ? Well, in the case of 154, I think we're all agreed on that. Who gives a shit what it's called ? Far too much breath has been spent/ink has been spilt/keys have been pressed, arguing the toss over where the music 'fits' in the canon, and what 'validity' it has a result.

    Wire just can't be classified as a punk band, too late & the wrong kind of music BUT there are plenty who argue that Wire is the ultimate punk band because we do what the fuck we like.

    Absolutely. Take a leaf out of D.Boon's book on that score: "Punk was whatever we wanted it to be"