Wire - Document And Eyewitness

by Brian Lange. Rating:7 Release Date:2014-08-18

Document and Eyewitness is the reissue of live recordings from two shows at Notre Dame Hall in July 1979 and The Electric Ballroom in February 1980. Speaking in terms of live albums, they are always hit or miss. Certain bands will obsess over having the best possible quality recordings and only release them under the strictest of control. Other bands welcome the bootleg mentality, and accessibility becomes seemingly endless. 

Marked as something of a split from their EMI label, this record consists predominantly of, at the time, b-Sides and newer material not heard before. Using this segue as a way of experimenting and expressing their newfound artistic freedom was met with a bit of disdain from a jaded crowd hoping for all of the Wire classics. Instead, the audience endured a bizarre Dadaist cabaret that came across as more of a performance art piece than a 'best of' show. Some of these live recordings would later be re-worked for 2013’s Change Becomes Us. 

As this is a re-issue of a record originally released in 1981, it wouldn’t quite be a re-issue without bonus material. Included are 12 extra tracks of never before released demos and rehearsals. It’s always hard to judge extras which consist of demos and rehearsals as they don’t really do much or add anything to the original work half the time, but for fans it’s always exciting stuff to be able to hear different versions of familiar songs. Having said that, the quality of the recordings is actually quite good and was undoubtedly retouched in the studio.

If you’re unfamiliar with Wire, they are an English band which formed in London in 1976, most often associated with punk. They helped to further and maintain the status of punk in the late 70s. Due to their eclectic style and array of influences, plus their implementation of synthesizers and atmospheric sounds, some consider their sound to crossover into post-punk and other rock genres. 

Wire will always be Wire. For fans of this group, this is a worthy addition to the collection.

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