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    There are some songs that "do the trick" every time, encouraging repeated playing (usually, four-six times in a row is barely enough). For me, a substantial proportion of these songs is from the Wire area: Map Ref 41° N 93° W, Kidney Bingos, Eardrum Buzz, Ends With The Sea, Pump, Remove For Improvement... I am utterly surprised by Harpooned functioning as one of these: it is long, noisy, mid/slow tempo, has danger-anxiety-related subject matter. On paper (or screen), it wouldn't appear like the most likely candidate for a song able to transport you in a special state, enhancing your experience of yourself and coloring it with its unmistakable hue, but also bringing a sense of wonder, excitement and bliss. Yet, the 8 minutes flow seamlessly in a slow and sure progression. The elements are balanced together in a very elegant way, the sonics have a way of sounding dramatically different if the track is played in different environments. Strong identity, mutating details. And at the end, I hit "play" again. And again! Despite any superficial disclaimers, this song is a serious, serious contender.
    Yes, magnificent. My first exposure was at the Dublin gig two years ago, and it fairly knocked me out. Serious contender for the Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra, I'd say.
    "Serious contender for the Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra, I'd say."

    How many chords does Harpooned have? (PF has one, hence its use for the orchestra!)
    I would agree that Harpooned is an instant Wire classic. Probably their best album closer ever.
    obviously a matter of personal taste. I much prefer '40 Versions' as a "closer" . I Love the latest albums but not over-keen on the over-distorted distortion live;some of the lighter newer songs i felt suffered as a consequence in Liverpool and Manchester.
    But Harpooned didn't suffer from the distortion in London... The friends I brought to the Lexington on April 18 had never heard OF Wire before! And this was the song they focused on most.
    I've always liked long droney jams like Sister Ray and Cortez the Killer so, for me, Harpooned is right up there with Wire's best stuff. In the words of ABC News, US: "It crushes everything in it's path". I concur.

    I'm a big fan of Wire's "over-distorted distortion" so looking forward to the live shows in NY. It couldn't be too distorted for me. I like the extreme contrast between Harpooned and more *delicate* songs like Swallow, another keeper.
    Freakbag, you have put your finger on why the song does not work for me. I am broadly against long droney songs. It is the more melodic tracks that elevate this album. Live, I just wanted it to stop.
    But at the two gigs i saw the more "delicate" songs did suffer from being too distorted, I understand the Crazy Horse esque attitude of Harpooned, and admire Wire, as always, for going in yet another direction while still retaining their own style(s), but in a live context I felt that the dynamics of the more melodic newer songs got lost in a wash of noise, with the vocals breaking up at one point. "If it's too loud, you're too old" ;-)
    Harpooned is an epic and quite scary ending to one of Wire's poppiest albums. It's a bit like the jolt Tomorrow Never Knows provides on Revolver and makes 'Wire' a really substantial listen.
    Dunno about best song - but for me the most overlooked - and definitely one of the best Wire songs in my book is Pieta. A quite long and very short version - both bloody marvellous - yet it only achieved the status of B-Side and bonus album track. And if I remember rightly - one of only two studio Wire tracks with solo vocals by three different band members.
    What's the other one? Once Is Enough?
    Off the top of my head, I think "It can't be true, can it?" must be the other one.

    Agreed Harpooned is a monster and Pieta is an underrated classic!

    Does Bruce have a solo vocal on "It can't be true"? I'd better recheck! Re "Once Is Enough" - I was referring to solo vocals - not unison - or harmonied. The track I was referring to is the "Strays" version of "German Shepherds" - Colin has lead vocal but both Graham and Margaret have solo parts.
    Firmly off-topic, doesn't "Children of Groceries" deserve the triple score because of Bruce's emphatic "and"?
    Good call, Plenescence!

    Re 'Once Is Enough' - long time since I heard it (least favourite track on 154) so I could be wrong, but I thought Graham and Bruce took a line each at "you'd sooner see it's piety / you'd replied in it's course, before you..."
    • CommentAuthorjw says...
    • (CommentTimeMay 14th 2015 edited)
    Maybe this is turning into a new thread.

    Harpooned is killer.

    A shout out, just before the encore on the first night of the Lexington series, "Indirect Enquiries". One of my absolute favourites! Sets up "40 Versions"...
    There 's a track on the upcoming ATV album where I suggested to the band to have a lot of overlapping vocals at the end - I took "Indirect Enquiries" as the model. Don't think we quite reached that grandiose level of noise, but that was the thought process anyways!
    "Harpooned" is neither the best Wire album closer nor is it the best Wire song, both of those titles are currently held by "You Hung Your Lights In The Trees/A Craftsman's Touch".
    Is it too late to throw "Too Late" into the mix?!! Absolute Classic!! "Harpooned" is great but isn't it a little early to give it the 'classic' tag? Also, "99.9" deserves a mention too I feel, has a great atmospheric lead in.