Wire - Silver/Lead

by Gerry Hathaway Rating:9 Release Date:2017-03-31

Now celebrating their fourth decade, Wire shows no signs of slowing down. They’ve been incredibly prolific since 2013’s excellent Change Becomes Us, having released another album and EP leading up to their latest Silver/Lead. Stylistically, the album maintains the moody melodicism of their 2015 self-titled album. However, the record is much more mid-tempo, swelling with rich atmosphere.

The album opens with Playing Harp for the Fishes with bassist Graham Lewis on vocals delivering a stately croon over bubbly synths and a cloud of fuzzy guitars. Next up is the peppiest song on the record, Short Elevate Period, which is the catchiest Wire track in quite a while. Fun stuff. Diamonds in Cups is an uplifting moody rocker with Colin Newman’s velvety melodic croon reminding listeners to “believe in your luck” and “be a good witness to all that you see”. Album highlight Forever & A Day features a longing chorus to a love interest with both Colin Newman and Graham Lewis singing it as a duet.

A simple staccato acoustic guitar riff leads Sonic Lens before moving into another strong Colin Newman chorus. This Time is another positive number where Graham Lewis assures himself that he’s “going to be strong”. Sleep On The Wing is a pretty song with Newman’s hypnotic vocals coming off smooth as silk while shimmery guitars carry the chorus. The record ends with the title track, an acoustic slow burner with a sinister edge.  

While Silver/Lead is a bit of a dirge at times, it’s made more compelling by having the empty spaces filled with spacey analog synths that serve only to build on the wall of sound anchored by Colin Newman and guitarist Matt Simms. Surely, this is an album made primarily for fans of the band. However, if a new listener were to stumble upon Silver/Lead first they’d be in for quite a treat. It’s a sombre, yet uplifting record and proves that there is absolutely nothing wrong by mellowing with age. Wire remains on-point. Highly recommended.

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