#6. Wire – The 15th (1979)
Two words crystallize what Wire derived from art school: ‘method’ and ‘design’ They approached making their music with a methodical objectivity, thinking of songs as ‘pieces’ – sonic material to be chiselled like a sculpture, rather than an outpouring from their heart and souls. Like Brian Eno, they approached creation with a what if?/why not? curiosity – setting up processes and embracing constraints, just to see what would transpire.
– Simon Reynolds / Rip It Up And Start Again
Against the backdrop of a bright new dawn. Post punk, clean lines, the urban landscape waxing, waning, yet such is the shape of kinetic energy that the city remains the same.
And then there’s its soundtrack. Music that’s articulate, precise and wry – Wire’s default settings. You could cut yourself on this record – the shawl of understatement is misleading. There’s the degree of starkness that’s present in many of their songs (and particularly in their first three albums), a crisp, refreshing texture that’s remarkably undated. There’s the cold, mathematical references that underpin the distant vocal, words strafed amidst the instrumentation like the components of a complex equation. This is a song that knows what it’s all about, that celebrates its careful assemblage. It’s clever, sharp, and ceramic.
Wire / The 15th