Expect the worst. No matter how much you loved a band, even if they never made a bad record, and all the original members are participating in the new recordings. This is how I approach everything reunions and albums by bands who’ve been together more than 20 years. Cause chances are, it’s going to suck.
But some groups you have more hope for than others. Wire are one of them. Like the Fall, Wire have never had any interest in nostalgia, constantly moving forward for the last 30 years. When they reformed in 1986 they refused to play songs from their first three records, though they did hire a Wire cover band, the Ex-Lion Tamers, to open for them. (They did however play some oldies in 2000 when I saw them at Irving Plaza — a radical idea for them.) Even when the results are less than successful (1990’s Manscape) you can never say they aren’t doing their own thing.
Wire ceased to function a second time in the early 90s after making one record as Wir (drummer Robert Gotobed had left the group), but Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert and Gotobed resurrected the group around the millenium, and have trickled out new material in the form of a series of Read & Burn EPs in-between reissues of their classic albums.
Read & Burn 3 is the first new recordings we’ve had in about five years, and these four tracks show they’ve lost none of their momentum. They’re still playing songs at 12XU speed, impressive when you think Bruce Gilbert is in his ’60s. I’m especially partial to the nearly 10-minute lead track "23 Years Too Late" as Newman and Lewis share vocal duties. Graham Lewis has always had this menacing quality to his vocals* and it’s used to good affect here. Wire promise a brand new album in 2008 that will include no previously released tracks.
*If I ever got to be music supervisor on a horror film, I would campaign for Wire’s song "Feed Me" (from the Awesome The Ideal Copy) to be used in it. It’s Graham Lewis at his creepy best.