Wire Set To Release New Album; Hear 'Short Elevated Period' : All Songs Considered The British band, which has made evolution and sonic adventurousness a part of its trademark since its iconic debut in 1977, will release its 15th album, Silver/Lead, on March 31.
NPR logo Wire Set To Release New Album; Hear 'Short Elevated Period'

Wire Set To Release New Album; Hear 'Short Elevated Period'

Matias Corral/Courtesy of the artist
Wire, in 2015
Matias Corral/Courtesy of the artist

Wire made three of my favorite albums of the late 1970s: Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978) and 154 (1979). Now, 40 years later, this brash, sonically adventurous British band is back with "Short Elevated Period," a song from a brand new album called Silver/Lead, coming March 31, and they didn't let me down.

This is particularly remarkable for a band that barely made it into '80s, breaking up just a few years after it debuted and later trying to put its past to rest by touring with an opening act that would perform those songs from the '70s so they could play their newer tunes. Maybe that focus on the present made them more capable of evolving than the average punk band, because here in the 21st century, three of the four original members still actively make vital new music as Wire: Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey (a.k.a. Robert Gotobed). Despite being in their 60s, having added a younger bandmate, guitarist Matt Simms, Wire still have fire in their music and plenty to say.

"Short Elevated Period," highlights this "pivotal moment, in an uncertain future" as Colin Newman sings, in lyrics written by bandmate Graham Lewis.

Skippering a skiff, in the typhoon season
Open to change and in need of a hand
No longer confused by rhyme nor reason
Indian queens paddle dugout canoes
The passenger matches the price that he's asking
Embracing the modern he now understands
It's a pivotal moment, in an uncertain future
A pain relief deal done on the Frankfurt express
Right up to the moment I I.D. you
My reasons for living were under review
A parting of the ways, what had it come to?
Standing in the road, where would I go to?
In a short elevated period
In a short elevated period
In a short elevated period

This song, from Wire's 15th studio album, is music that looks at the present and forward to the future, still with its artful guitar driven snap, all the more surprising for a band that didn't look like it would make it past the three-year mark.