October 31, 2015

Wire - Pink Flag (1977)


Wire was one of the most important trailblazers for post-punk, and while I appreciate the two classics following Pink Flag for setting the mood for many bands in the 80s European post-punk scenes, I love the punkier and raw debut the most. For a beginner to punk rock, it's easy to enjoy the album under the assumption that it's very representative of British punk in 1977, but it's hardly comparable to the regular messy angst being spit out that year. Pay attention to how nearly all of the tracks introduce song structures, melodies, and elements to percussion and guitar work not found elsewhere in punk rock at the time. The Sex Pistols album is made by punks who had little knowledge of how to play instruments which gives an enjoyable atmosphere in its own right (Sid Vicious actually had no clue how to play bass and was only there to contribute to the punk aesthetic), but Wire crafted Pink Flag from musicianship and clever songwriting. Colin Newman's semi-decipherable lyrics are charming and seem dedicated to lightly parodying punk rock while respecting the fire behind the movement and taking the crass scene to a new level of acclaim with a little more musical guidance. Wire made great use of their field of view and produced a balanced and forward-gazing punk album which is smart, melodic, and energetic. Very influential for other big names in British punk rock like The Clash, The Damned, and even Gang of Four as well as starting to shape an entryway to the 80s.

Sample

Pink Flag