Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wire: Pink Flag [Harvest, 1978]
The simultaneous rawness and detachment of this debut LP returns rock and roll irony to the (native) land of Mick Jagger, where it belongs. From a formal strategy almost identical to the Ramones, this band deducts most melody to arrive at music much grimmer and more frightening: Wire would sooner revamp "The Fat Lady of Limbourg" or "Some Kinda Love" than "Let's Dance" or "Surfin' Bird." Not that any of the twenty-one titles here have been heard before--that would ruin the overall effect of a punk suite comprising parts so singular that you can hardly imagine them in some other order. Inspirational Prose: "This is your correspondent, running out of tape, gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape." A