After finishing their self-titled 2015 album, post-punk unit Wire discovered they had material that didn’t fit that album’s themes. So, we get Nocturnal Koreans, a compilation of album offcuts that are as jagged and powerful as anything the band have recorded. The freedom of releasing music outside an album structure lets the band properly experiment with composition and sound.
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Robotic post punkers Wire really do write some great songs. This should not be forgotten. Their previous album ‘Wire’ had a clutch of great ones including ‘In Manchester’ which I was pleased to see soundtracking one of the many features on Manchester on BBC 6 Music. They have an economy of composition that is really effective and it is all displayed pretty nicely on the title track here with its kraut-like drums, spiralling guitar textures and hushed vocals. Brilliant. It begs the question of how this was left off ‘Wire’ as all the tracks here were.
Well Wire are situationists and these tracks didn’t fit the albums themes so they were pushed aside for this collection of songs. There is plenty to enjoy here for Wire fans including ’Numbered’ which has the metallic skewness of ‘Pink Flag’, rather than the melodicisms elsewhere….but I do like Wire when they are melodic. ’Still’ is a lovely simple pop song based around three chords, descending into a pleasant chorus. Reading back of my review of ‘Wire’ I seem to suggest the band are running out of steam, since then I’ve made my peace with the pleasant chug of latter day Wire.
This is a thin collection at only 8 tracks but still enjoyable. Merge the two albums together though and you have enough evidence to show that there will be plenty late career peaks to come.
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