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  1.  
    In The New Perfect Collection, a long overdue reappraisal of Wire LP #5:

    http://thenewperfectcollection.com/2015/08/19/a-bell-is-a-cup-until-it-is-struck-wire-1988/
  2.  
    Thanks for the link - that's a decent write-up. I've never had any problem with ABIAC. Loved it when it came out, still love it today.

    (Incidentally, has there been a problem with this 'Talk' page for a few days? I was getting an error message when trying to access, but have had one or two internet problems over the same time period)
  3.  
    Ian: Yeah, the host moved the database, and I needed account details to reconnect. Should be fixed now.
  4.  
    For me, it's the standout of their entire discography, if only because I feel they found a way to perfectly meld the electronic and the analog, to put it in basic terms. It doesn't sound as dated as some seem to think, and certainly sounds less so when compared to later 80's and early 90's releases by other groups. There's emotion, pop genius, and depth to the sound (between the layers of the wide range of synths, chameleon guitar work, and tight rhythm section). It's been my favorite since I first heard the one-two punch of Come Back in Two Halves and Follow the Locust.
  5.  
    I think it's a great album, but that sodding snare drum is SO DAMN LOUD. Whereas Ideal Copy really suffers compared to the live versions, Bell fares better. That said, I do really like the more modern live/studio mash-ups, such as Recycling's Silk Skin Paws.

    In my 'infinite time and money for Wire' universe, that remastered special edition of Bell with a new rhythm track by Rob and Colin sounds pretty damn fine.
  6.  
    I've actually been listening to ABIAC a lot again recently - its '80s production job is a little bit intrusive here & there (nothing serious though) but the songs are terrific throughout & it's certainly my personal favourite from the Mute era.
  7.  
    Totally agree. It's a mighty fine album, full of great tunes and lyrics. Best of the Mute bunch by a million miles...and I confess that I listen to Bell more often now than I listen to the holy trinity from the 70s. Now there's a bold statement!
  8.  
    It's fair to middling I think.
    I love Silk Skin Paws, Kidney Bingos is great as well. Boiling Boy is fine, but tame when compared to the Peel Session. There for me lies the problem, it is too polite, the mix is not great.
  9.  
    I know where all the doubters are coming from...I have major reservations about some of the production and mixing. But, for me, the songs transcend all of that. And I love the 'cleanliness' of the sound, everything is like chrome!

    ABIAC... was my first Wire album experience when I was 21. I then retraced their steps from Pink Flag onwards. Maybe that's why I hold it in high esteem.

    After all, you always remember your first girlfriend (and I was a lot younger than 21 when that happened, I hasten to add)
  10.  
    Same here. Bell was my intro to Wire, along with Ahead. I then got more of the Mute stuff (which I found variable) before delving into the EMI reissues when they appeared. (This is perhaps why I don't really rate Pink Flag. It feels like an album where you really had to be there. CM and 154 really grabbed hold though.)

    Regarding production, this is one of the reasons why I'm really happy the bootleg series happened. Some of those 1980s gigs had good enough recordings that there's now at least the option for 'alternate' versions of those first three Mute albums, and Bell in particular is quite interesting to hear live. Queen of Ur is a much nastier, grittier track live than the comparatively tranquil album version, for example. But really I'd just like shot of that snare, and to have a proper Rob track on that album.
  11.  
    Perhaps the first girlfriend theory explains my affection for The Ideal Copy. The first Wire song I'd ever heard was their ubiquitous punk compilation contribution, "12XU," but the first albums were the Snakedrill EP and TIC shortly after the latter was released. While I couldn't quite cotton how they were by the "12XU" group, I was hooked for good. ABIAC is a fine alt-pop album that, as so many have said, wilts from the production. I never noticed the sheen at the time—a combination of being a less experienced listener and it being so common in those days (e.g., PiL from that period)—but now it's a pimple on the blind date's forehead.
  12.  
    Despite the fact that I bought my first Wire record in 1979 (yes, it was 154) and within the next few months the two earlier ones, I like quite a lot their 1980s output. Yes, I partly agree with the criticisms mentioned above but I like the fact that it is almost a monochromatic album, it has atmosphere and (mainly) it has some of their best compositions. It is the strength of the songs that makes me listen it even today. The live versions are more raw but, in my opinion, cannot convey the above.
  13.  
    graig, where can i find this remastered special edition of a bell...?
  14.  
    Julia: like I said, "In my 'infinite time and money for Wire' universe"—another reality entirely to this one, sadly.
  15.  
    I think its a great album with production a lot less clunky than "The Ideal Copy". It does seem that a common denominator in the gripe equation is Roberts snare sound on the album. Could this be solved by new drum tracks being recorded? Its a great album, nonetheless, with my personal favourites being Kidney Bingos, Free Falling Divisions, Follow the Locust and Silk Skin Paws.