title: Whilst climbing thieves vie for attention
label: Court Records
personnel: Peter Price (drums, keyboards), A.C. Marias (electric bass guitar, voice), David Tidball (clarinet, voice), Bruce Gilbert electric guitar), Graham Leiws (electric guitar, voice, keyboards)
tracklisting: time and time, back to back, holy joe, earl, vanite, today's version, i will, mhona, blind time, crystal streams
further info: http://www.wireviews.com/
what with the re-release of their first three truly groundbreaking albums, it's time to, once again, celebrate the true post-punk genius of Wire. or at least one of the many solo projects featuring bassist Graham Lewis and guitarist Bruce Gilbert, recorded during the band's 1980-86 hiatus.
conceived initially as a live project (and partially improvised in places), "Climbing Thieves..." was hastily recorded before the band was forced to end. the deadpan vocals and drum machine of 'Time and Time' and thundering bass of 'Holy Joe' are reminiscent of a well-tempered Psychic TV. but although the music is decidedly avant garde in places ('Earl' has a creepy, ritualised feel), the slow-paced and semi-ambient album never loses it's sense of beauty, thanks in no small part to the haunting and strangely catchy 'Mhona'. the unmistakable highlight, however, remains 'Blind Tim', a heavily processed synth loop with oriental embellishments over which David Tidball offers a bizarre spoken monologue. once heard never forgotten.
given such P'o-tential, it remains a disappointment that the album's sound is rather muddy. however, we heartily recommend grabbing your wellies and wading towards it.
erik - http://www.cultwithnoname.com