Published Jun 18, 2020Wire's newest release — their second of 2020, originally intended for Record Store Day but then rescheduled for obvious reasons — is a compilation of sorts. A surprisingly cohesive collection of reimagined songs and outtakes from the last 30-odd years, 10:20 endeavours to capture the new life these songs received as live show staples.
The album captures Wire's ceaseless pursuit of new sounds and currents throughout their four-decade career as a cult success born out of punk fervour. Despite the band's obvious thirst for artistic validity through constant metamorphosis, the 20-plus years of material featured on this record hold together with a remarkable consistency. 10:20 is far from being the sonic grab-bag of disconnected whims and ideas which would not have been completely unwarranted to suspect.
One theme that arises throughout 10:20 seems to be a distinct and deliberate departure from the short, frenetic outbursts of their early material in favour of more drawn-out explorations. While certainly not without its own unique propulsive drive, 10:20 seems to revolve upon enigmatic melancholy and uncertainty befitting its release date.
The psychedelic echoes of the shimmering bright guitars on "Wolf Collides" surround the wonderfully bizarre "Wolf collides with random boy." While it is difficult to decipher all of the lyrics, there is no mistaking the chorus words "our tune is new." "Wolf Collides" has Wire at their atmospheric best, and may be the strongest track on 10:20, expressing the band's staunch refusal to rest on nostalgia, even at the risk of disappearing altogether "in ocean blue." Clearly, this album is not an attempt to repeat or relive past glories. (Pinkflag)