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    • CommentAuthorjw says...
    • (CommentTimeFeb 20th 2019 edited)
    Anyone got some 'after the event' feedback on last year's Special Editions for research purposes? – now that the releases have had a chance to settle. There weren't that many comments in the reviews about Annette Green's photography, I wondered what you made of this element of the SE's.
    Essential collections all. A real labour of love. Musically impeccable - the remastering is superb - and the sleevenotes from Graham Duff and Jon Savage are written with intelligence and integrity. My personal music highlight was the appearance of "Ignorance No Plea" in the 154 demo section. The Chairs Missing demo section is particularly interesting because the comparisons between the early demos of French Film Blurred and Indirect Enquiries against their later demos confirm how the band made quantum leaps in a frighteningly short period of time. My only questions - and this may be because my ears could be going after years of abuse - I can't spot any discernible differences between the alt mix of Three Girl Rhumba and the album version - same with the Mannequin Mono Mix and the album cut - or the single versions of I Am The Fly and Practice Makes Perfect alongside their album counterparts. I'm happy to be informed of the differences from more auditorily equipped listeners out there. Annette's photography - I love how within the standard image-conscious poses there are pictures that capture the band in their more relaxed moments - she certainly had a talent for bringing those out. The hall of mirrors type pics in 154 - a couple work for me - generally I'm not sure whether the experiment worked - but all power to her for giving it a go. All I have to say is - for anyone who hasn't bought these yet - you really should.
    I finally bought the special edition of Chairs Missing last week (from Fopp, because I feel a need to help keep it going).
    I love the clean packaging, the text, the lyrics, the breakdown as to who wrote what, the band stories behind the songs, and the never-before-seen pics (even if they only appear to be from two photo sessions).
    The remastered tracks are clean and dynamic. Wire certainly sidelined a lot of tracks that were too ‘Pink Flagish’ in feel. The reinvention of some songs to fit the Chairs Missing ethos is quite startling. They were never a band to look backwards.
    And even after years of listening to CM I still needed to be told of the sea/water imagery running through a number of tracks!
    All in all, the Chairs Missing SE gets a 9/10 from me. 154 will be next. I believe it offers more revelations than Pink Flag, which is last on my to-get list.
    Oddly, that's the order I bought the reissues in, back in the 1990s. I came to Wire via the 1980s stuff, and so the EMI albums where new to me. CM and 154 immediately clicked. I bought PF last, and it never really did a great deal for me. I mean, it's a good album, and I very much like specific tracks, but it feels more like a "you had to be there" thing than the other two.
    The first 70s Wire I bought was the on Returning compilation in the late 80s. I then purchased PF, CM and 154 in chronological order on vinyl (that’s how old I am!). For years Pink Flag was my favourite, but I now listen to the other two far more than the debut album. If PF offered more variety in the outtakes I would be straight in there, but CM and 154 seem to beat it on that score. Mind you, all three will look great side by side in my man cave! The 7” design is great, substantial but not too bulky.