Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Colin Newman

  • A-Z [Beggars Banquet, 1980] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A-Z [Beggars Banquet, 1980]
Projected and rejected as the fourth Wire album, it would have been the right step backwards--regressive only if you consider noise uncouth. Producer Mike Thorne's keyboards are indeed all over the place, but rather than laying down the trancy gloss of 154, they do what they can do to rub a body the wrong way, just like Newman's guitar. Leading me to suspect that the absent Graham Lewis is Wire's new-waving fifth columnist. Of course, Lewis also probably contributes the catchy stuff--where on Pink Flag you remember every allusively desperate little song, here you recognize the oblique, abrasive gestalt. And remember "B," which has no lyrics at all, every time its rousing climax comes around. B+