Wire – Send Ultimate

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This LP may be an amalgam of sorts, but it is testament to the brilliance of Wire’s overall vision that such an amalgam can sound so cohesive. Send Ultimate is a package of reissues, remixes, re-workings of material from 1999 and 2003, which were themselves a sort of reappraisal on what the band’s history meant to its members at that point. Further musings on the band’s extraordinary ability to gain some kind of creative strength from reconstruction and new appraisals of their sound leads to the thought that there is Wire, and there’s Kraftwerk.  

Enough journalese.

The first CD starts off at some lick. In the Art of Stopping and Mr. Marx’s Table begin tear up the place with the aid of some glowering guitar textures and some primeval tub-thumping. There’s something exhilarating about the band’s determination to constantly destroy and remodel their muse: the same but not the same. The anger and wit are still present in spades: skip along a little further on this CD and you come to Spent, an urban rant from Speaker’s Corner given a harsh metallic backdrop. By contrast, Comet and Half Eaten are playfully boneheaded in their fun–seeking. Wire’s interest in what was around them at the time can be heard in the sub-Gabba of Nice Streets Above and Read and Burn, which are complete brain crushers and wouldn’t have been out of place in a Rotterdam club back in the day. We also get the characteristically dark soliloquies on human nature: Being Watched and You Can’t Leave Now are noticeable for the drop in tempo and increase in froideur. Everything ends on a burn-out that burns up: 99.9.  It’s heady stuff.

The second, remix CD is full of glossy, funny, irreverent takes on Wire’s music that somehow nails the bands style. There’s a feeling that the band was happy to completely strip away anything that proved to be unnecessary or indulgent. Artificial Gravity, for example, never goes anywhere fast, but does it with aplomb. Top tracks for this reviewer are the shimmering, multi-dimensional Trash/Treasure and the fabulously terse rants of Raft Ants and DJ Fuckoff. It’s also very funny hearing Wire take on 12XU in the gloopy 2 Times U and the growly 12 Times X.

A fabulous release; and a constant source of fun & inspiration.