Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by Morning Show host John Richards, is by legendary British post-punk band Wire. “Love Bends” hails from Change Becomes Us, the band’s 13th studio album, out last month on the bands own Pink Flag.
Wire is a band that needs nearly no sonic introduction at all – we hear the influence of their fantastic artistry in nearly all rock tunes today. Emerging from the U.K. punk scene in 1976, Wire brought a unique combination of punk brass and pop finesse to the table. Their widely acclaimed debut record Pink Flag filled in space between pop genius like “Ex Lion Tamer” and “Mannequin” with brief and eclectic punk offerings that kept your head spinning across the albums 21 tracks in 35 minutes. With 1978 sophomore Chairs Missing, Wire fleshed out their sporadic technique to create an even more diverse and rewarding record. 70’s psychedelia and art rock were all over the record, right next to the punk follow-ups to the first one; Wire was not a band to be slowed by the proverbial changing of the guard. Just a year later, 154 saw the band turning the way of post-punk with more artful pop tracks and fuller, more experimental songwriting. Wire’s first three records are without question some of the best the late 70’s had to offer.
With new record Change Becomes Us, Wire returns to the days of yore by creating some variations on ideas from that period. Many of the Change tracks were, in a simpler form, among Wire’s live catalogue back on 1981’s fantastic Document and Eyewitness. But on Change, we see the band approach these tunes with decades more experience in pop songwriting and a polish that is hard to come by.
“Love Bends” is classic Wire at its heart. A bright 70’s punk guitar riff guides the track forward as heavy handed drums and a psychedelic vibe carry throughout. “Love bends the Earth, it strengthens around”, sings Colin Newman, “it dives for pearls, it lightens the load”. The track isn’t missing a hint of optimism. 35 years later, and the band is still offering a unique message of hope that shows they beat the sound of their own drum. The track builds and swoons like a classic post-punk tune and proves that these legends of the craft aren’t getting tired in their later days.
Wire has a string of tour dates scheduled for this summer on the East Coast. They promise West Coast dates around November. Find out mroe on their website and Facebook page. Considering how long the wait, you might want to check out their entire album offered free for streaming in the meanwhile on Soundcloud. And here they are performing live in the KEXP studio back in 2011: