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  1.  
    acrmcr - for the same reason that teh books are delayed via Greedbag, there will be no books available to buy at this weeks gigs. Mr Neate is not a happy bunny!!!!
  2.  
    Mystery and melody. How do they keep on doing it?! A brilliant, brilliant album, with, as RSwimmer said, something for everybody. Too many favourites to mention, although As We Go has really got a grip on me. There's something about that guitar sound, especially at the end, that is sublime. (Sorry for the hyperbole - it's that good).
    Thanks Wire.
  3.  
    A container full of copies of Wilson's book is, according to the newsletter, on a vessel somewhere between here and China....and Eels sang liner
  4.  
    Delayed Special Editions/Container sailing out of China/Wilson not a happy bunny/Books are nil and Eels Sang.....
  5.  
    Disclaimer: The Special Editions Delayed in above post are only the ones where the book was also ordered as part of the bundle - I'm included in that but the wait for both will be worth it.....
  6.  
    So long as it doesn't end up Eels SANK liner...
  7.  
    WIRE – CHANGE BECOMES US – messing with our heads (PART ONE)

    Change Becomes Us, Wire’s “secret project”, finally sees the light of day this week. Let me explain: as far back as July 1979 Wire were playing brand new songs recorded post-154. In November 1979 Wire played four nights at the Jeanette Cochrane Theatre in London (available as a download from the pinkflag Bootleg series) and a one-nighter in February 1980 at the Electric Ballroom, London (available as Document and Eyewitness). Both of these latter multi-media events saw them premiere a heavy percentage of new songs that feasibly could have made it onto their 4th album. There was one slight snag. By the time of the EB gig Wire had left their label, EMI, having recorded three now classic albums for them; Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154. And to make matters worse by the end of February 1980 they had decided to call it a day. Well, at least for 5 years.
    So when it was revealed that CBU would include reworking’s of some of those ‘lost songs’ Wire fans were left salivating and drooling at the prospects. I say lost, in inverted commas, because Colin Newman himself reworked some of them into his third solo album, Not To, in 1982. But that’s another story.
    So what does CBU contain for the both the Wire fan and the first time listener? This is the dilemma because by recontextualising these songs Wire are playing a very clever mind-game. The question is; ‘is this a new album?’ or ‘is this a new ‘old’ album?’ By breathing new life into songs that are getting on for 35 years old what are Wire asking us to do? Are we being asked to listen to this as a new album or to compare and contrast with the previous live versions? I suspect both.
    For those approaching the album for the first time, with no prior knowledge of the previous versions, this does not present a problem. But, like reading the book and then seeing the film, most Wire fans will need to have to listen to the thirteen songs contained in CBU on their own merit and work out if this is, in fact, a great new album or a great album of old songs.
  8.  
    WIRE – CHANGE BECOMES US – messing with our heads (PART TWO)

    Before I try and answer that let’s look at what CBU actually holds:
    Doubles and Trebles opens proceedings. A more or less straight reworking of Ally in Exile and a great classic Wire song that deserves to be resuscitated. If any track can pick up from where 154 left off then this is it! (Although I do miss Graham's booming harmonic 'arrivals').
    Keep Exhaling follows with a straight re-write of Relationship. For this writer the smooth, gentle voice of Colin jars slightly. The original vocal had a stronger delivery that suited the song.
    Track 3, Adore Your Islands, brings another favourite, The Spare One, back into being. Quite simply it rocks!
    Graham’s ZEGK HOQP, from the EB concert, follows as Re-Invent Your Second Wheel and boy is it reinvented! The original live version was a somewhat anarchic call-and-response of apparent random letters that only continued to wind up an already pissed-off audience. Whilst I liked the quality of the original this is the exact opposite; a wonderful new song that uses the original as a springboard and transforms it into a polished gem.
    Stealth of A Stork, formerly Witness to The Fact, would not sound out of place played by an American band doing a Wire covers album. I speak from experience in being partially responsible for Various Artists Play Wire: Whore, the first homage to Wire that contained a number of US artists ‘doing’ Wire. Those who know Whore will know what I mean and I do not mean this as an insult. We live a very post-post-modern world and for Wire not to be in turn influenced by those they influenced should not come as a surprise.
    B/W Silence is a reworking of I Wanted To Go (aka Lorries)* a song that Colin re-did on Not To but here given a more or less straight interpretation of the original. Nothing wrong with that. Why reinvent the wheel this time?
    Time Lock Fog was 5/10 when played at EB and another that Colin tackled for the same album. To say that this has been re-written would be an understatement. It is only the tapping glass bottle and the ‘staunch believer’ lyric that gives its origins away otherwise it is effectively a new song with a great atmospheric quality.
    Magic Bullet is a complete re-write of Over My Head from the JC gig with a very smooth delivery and production that works. I can see this becoming a firm live favourite in the future.
    Graham’s second and final song of the album, Eels Sang, takes the original Eels Sang Lino from the EB gig and transforms what was a fairly manic and hysterical (in both senses of the word) song into a more structured and groovy version. The anagrammatic lyrics remain the same and are as funny as ever.
    Who would have guessed that Piano Tuner (Keep StrummingThose Guitars) could ever be re-written? From a fairly mad riff live at EB Love Bends has been written as a glorious piece of Wire pop up there with their best. They do make you better and feel good!!
    As We Go is a reworking of the very plodding Part of Our History from EB brought up to date. A wonderfully produced and very bouncy track.
    A complete re-write of Eastern Standard from the EB gig has become & Much Besides. I miss the story of the follicle and his gadding and Baghdadding, but as a ‘new’ song this is a triumph and acoustic guitars on a Wire album!? Sacrilege!
    Attractive Space closes the album. This overhaul of a perennial favourite, Underwater Experiences, has been performed by every incarnation of Wire. This version goes back to the 1978 demo and the failed Chairs Missing recording for its musical inspiration and apart from the last four lines the lyric has been re-written.
    Sonically the album sounds amazing and much praise to new boy Matt Simms for stepping up to the mark and making the space vacated by Bruce Gilbert his own. Wire have not only reinvented these songs but themselves as well. After the lacklustre Object 47 they reappeared and took everyone’s breath away with 2011’s Red Barked Tree and they have continued to plough the same creative furrow with CBU.
  9.  
    WIRE – CHANGE BECOMES US – messing with our heads (PART THREE)

    The question remains as to whether these are the definitive versions? Whether or not is really not the point. Like most of the albums songs it stands on its own as ‘this’ version. Yes, we can compare and contrast if we so choose but what would that ultimately achieve. Yes, I too have my own preference to some of the old versions over these new versions. Like I said at the start I have lived with these songs, in different versions, for nearly 35 years but that doesn’t mean CBU isn’t a great album. It is both a great new album and great album of old reinterpreted songs. It all depends on your own perspective.
    It IS Wire’s missing fourth album and it is also Wire’s new album. I know of no other artist/band that has given its fans this dilemma. But if we switch off those critical faculties and attempt to listen to it afresh CBU is a totally rewarding experience. Wire are to be commended for what will be seen in years to come as another classic album and for also messing with our heads!

    * I am using the title I Wanted To Go to differentiate between Wire’s version of the song and that made by Colin on his Not To album.
    The earliest version I have heard is Colin’s home demo of Lorries. This version uses the words that Colin would use on Not To but the music that all Wire versions have used since (including that on CBU).
    A rehearsal tape from early July 1979 (with Mike Thorne) has the band playing the same song as demoed by Colin. After the run through Graham asks Colin to write “prettier words” and ridicules him for using the word Czechoslovakia in a song.
    By the time Wire hit the road in July the words had been re-written, by Graham, to become I Wanted To Go. The song is clearly still known as Lorries to Wire as that is how it introduced at both the Notre Dame Hall and Jeanette Cochrane gigs.
    Colin took the original lyrics (albeit much curtailed) and wrote new, more uptempo, music for his version of Lorries on Not To.
  10.  
    "It is both a great new album and great album of old reinterpreted songs. It all depends on your own perspective. It IS Wire’s missing fourth album and it is also Wire’s new album."

    And there, in a nutshell, is something a fair number of music hacks are probably going to miss—although I hope not.
  11.  
    As I said before - my partner has heard the album without the benefit of hearing the old material - she loves it for what it is.
  12.  
    "Magic Bullet" is just begging to be made into an extended 12" mix or something. It's quite groovy for a Wire song. I love it.
  13.  
    Great write-up Kevin.

    I'm put in mind of Brian Wilson's version of SMiLE. The approach to his own albatross of 'lost songs' was to re-enact what could have been, slavishly re-creating the instrumentation and production value contemporaneous to 1966 (and a decent fist he made of it too).

    Wire's approach to the songs on CBU couldn't be further from that, and the fact that the songs have been given new titles suggests these are best approached as new works rather than definitive versions of old songs. This isn't the 'missing' follow up to '154', it's the follow up to 'RBT'. The back story to the songs is inescapable but it's also a bit of a red herring, and after a few listens I'm already feeling this is very much a 2013 LP and a leap forward not a step back.
  14.  
    Thanks for your reading of review R Swimmer.
    Like I said in review CBU is both their 4th album and the follow up to RBT. It all depends on ones point of view.
    The more I play it the more I feel it is the latter, but I still can't get that dilemma of compare and contrast out of my head. Maybe that's just me hahaha.
    I hope my review does not imply it's a step back. It is far from that.
  15.  
    Couldn't help it. My order troubles were sorted out once again and there was my CBU download.

    Decided on one front-to-back listen, then back on the "shelf" to save for my journey.

    I definitely can't wait to get back to this album. Magic Bullet is a remarkable track, Eels Sang is more than I could have hoped for from a refinement of Eels Sang Lino... some of these will be growers for me, but all the signs are there: this is an album I'll spend the better portion of 2013 obsessed with. Clearly an album that will benefit from my concentration, so as much as I hate to set it aside for a few more weeks, I think waiting to savor it once I'm in Europe (several train trips; plenty of time to focus on CBU) will pay off handsomely.

    Thanks again, Wire.
  16.  
    6/10 review at Drowned in Sound although I'm not entirely sure they 'get it'. If they'd given it 5/10 I'dve been more impressed

    ;-)
  17.  
    I was going to post it on here - but after reading it I'm surprised it got past the proof-reading stage! Badly written, erroneous song-titles and preposterous statements - pure junk.
  18.  
    What a strange review. "The songs are excellent, but some of the effects annoyed me so screw those guys". <- Short version.
  19.  
    "depressing"? "Wire do depressing... like no other?" I can live with with detached, aloof, and metallic - but depressing? Seriously?

    Oh, the kids these days.
  20.  
    That review would make a certain sense if the author said he just didn't like Wire. Fair enough, different strokes, etc. But to laud the band overall and then slam them for sounding like themselves (the third and fourth paragraphs, mostly) is the result of the writer not really thinking things through or is getting a head start on being contrarian to impress the cool kids.