Wire - Nocturnal Koreans - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Wire - Nocturnal Koreans

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2016-04-29

This fifteenth full-length from one of the longest lasting original British punkers (40 years, give or take a couple of decade-long hiatuses) still packs the typical uncompromising wallop that permeates all their work. With three-quarters of the original line-up still onboard (guitarist Bruce Gilbert left in 2004), these guys are still as tight as a monkey’s bum, if not quite as hairy. So Colin Newman’s crystalline guitar notes and still emotionally powerful vocals smoothly trickle out of your speakers, wiping away 40 years of grime and cobwebs on the sprightly effervescent title track, which is further propelled by Robert Gotobed’s motoric drumming.

I felt a dreamy nostalgic vibe coursing throughout the stormtrooping beat of ‘Internal Exile’ that fondly recalled one hit wonder Primitive Radio God’s ‘Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand’!

     The aggressive (but by no means punky) beat continues on the punchy ‘Dead Weight’, while the band’s avant garde, experimentally ambient side surfaces on ‘Forward Position’. Old school fans will probably gravitate more towards the robotic, minimalist punk of ‘Numbered’ that harkens back to seminal Chairs Missing tracks like ‘I Am The Fly’ and ‘Outdoor Minor’, but I enjoyed their 21st century sheen on the still melody-driven tunes like, well, ‘Still’ and the dreamily headswirling wall-of-sound of ‘Pilgrim Trade’. Must admit that the spot-on Julian Cope cop, ‘Fishes Bones’ that closes the album was a bit of a headscratcher, though. But that’s Wire for ya. Doing it all on their own terms, even down to releasing it on their own label!

     Welcome back, gents. Kick off yer shoes, put up yer feet and stay awhile. This one’s gonna be on my turntable for a long time.

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