Wire have never been a band to rest on their laurels. Indeed, their forward-facing aesthetic is matched only by their industriousness. A scant three months after the release of the widely acclaimed Mind Hive, Wire return with 10:20 – a special vinyl-only Record Store Day album.Today the band shared “Small Black Reptile” from the forthcoming release and announced West Coast tour dates. “Small Black Reptile” originally appeared on the band’s 1990 album Manscape. The original was a skeletal and arch computer-driven pop song, this new version sees the composition retooled as a piece of melodic rock. Here, Wire sound like a smart psychedelic beat group with Matt Simms’ guitar essaying a cocksure swagger.
Wire are Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Robert Grey and Matthew Simms, and together they have served up a collection that morphs from bright psychedelic pop to pummelling noise – with several detours along the way.
10:20 also thrives on its own perverse logic. The release features songs the band refers to as ‘strays’. These are recordings of pieces that couldn’t be accommodated on regular albums, as well as compositions that – following their original studio recording – evolved substantially through live performance, and so deserved a new life on record.