Chairs Missing (Special Edition Reissue)


Jun 13, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Coming less than a year after Wire's debut record, Chairs Missing shows the band stretching out, and the aggressive, punk rock stylings of Pink Flag receding into the background. In spite of it being released in punk's first foray, it manages to predict the sound of the early '80s (and beyond) with uncanny accuracy. Can you be punk and post-punk at the same time? Yeahwhy not.

The majority of Chairs Missing has an icy bleakness that they share with Joy Division. They may have missed out on cornering the market in existential disquiet in the way that the band soon to be called New Order did, but Wire were also way too restless and forward thinking to stay in one place too long. Just when you think Chairs Missing will collapse under an avalanche of angst, along comes "Outdoor Miner" with its harmony vocals and wistful melodicism. It's no surprise that this track was covered by Jason Falkner's power-pop supergroup The Grays on their eponymous debut album. Of course, because this is Wire we're talking about, it's followed by "I Am the Fly," a relentless, bass driven ode to spoilsports everywhere, complete with a heavily processed guitar sound and faux-cockney lead vocals. It was probably at this point that their record label started to wonder how the hell they were going to market the band.

Chairs Missing should have been the first of a series of proto-goth records that could have shoved the band onto the stages of the stadiums which bands like The Cure were to inhabit a few short years later. Instead, they looked for something else to do. Creativity is obviously a blessing and a curse, but fortunately for us, we're left with a fascinating record. The 2018 reissue is crammed with 32 rarities including demos, alternative versions, and the radio friendly single version of the aforementioned "Outdoor Miner" with its slightly incongruous piano solo, intact. The demos are rather interesting, running the gamut from Pink Flag era punk rock like "Options R" to the chilly textures of "Underwater Experiences."

The final word goes to "Culture Vultures." These are the opening lines: "What we do, is what we do/No more, no less." That sums the band up. Take it or leave it. It's different to what has just happened and the record that follows this will be even more so. (www.pinkflag.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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June 13th 2018

To continue my conversation I was saying in the other article about “Wire,” I think the music artists during the 70s and 80s had it rough because of competition in the evolution of music.

It is actually quite impressive to realize how successful bands such as Gun’s and Roses, Led Zeppelin, Lynard Skynard, Journey and many more. They were all involved in the trend of evolution and their music will be loved for a long time to come even after other music falls behind.