Posted by:on February 24th, 2014
Change Becomes Us sounds unmistakably like Wire. It also sounds like it could have came out in the early 80’s in terms of Wire’s catalog, not the general 80’s soundscape. Wire is famous for re-contextualizing and rerecording their catalog and performances, which they continue to do here. Colin Newman revealed the tracks all have their roots in bits and pieces of songs Wire wrote or performed in the early to mid 80’s. However, Change Becomes Us does not sound like retro pandering in any way. It’s a very modern soundscape. Had Change Becomes Us been released after 154, it would likely have been hailed as the fourth great Wire album, one that helped ease the transition to Wire’s more electronic sounds in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So it’s something like 30 plus years later… 30 Years. How do you measure Change Becomes Us in that context? On it’s own, it’s a great album. It’s also a great Wire album, but it’s not a landmark Wire album, and it’s not without fault. Critics are fond of saying Wire challenges their audience by not always giving them what they want, almost to the point of obstinance, or by being lyrically obscure. You likely aren’t going to remember much of the lyrics on Change Becomes Us, often times the vocals seem like they are only there to set a mood. Then there’s a beautiful song like “Re-invent your second wheel,” which features a seemingly random string of letters in the chorus, but works brilliantly, only to be abruptly shattered by the next track “Stealth of a Stork” which starts of in a cartoonish barrage of an 80’s hardcore beat, but still manages to rise above. So it’s clear that Wire continues to do whatever it wants. Fortuantely, they still do it well. Change Becomes Us is a testament to that.
UPDATE: I’m disappointed in this review. It’s Wire, you know, so I felt like I had to write about “WIRE” and put on airs like a serious music critic. If you like Wire, in any of it’s phases, you’ll like Change Becomes Us. It fits in nicely a while after Chairs Missing but before IBTABA. If they were a brand new band, it would be good as well.
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