is a British punk/experimental rock
band formed in 1976 by Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), Colin Newman (vocals, guitar) and Robert Gotobed (drums). Their sound is often associated with a vague subgenre of punk called "art punk," mostly due to their often obscure lyrical themes and somewhat situationist
political stance. The group exhibited a steady development from an early raucous style (1977's Pink Flag
) to a more complex, structured sound involving increased use of synthesizers (1978's Chairs Missing
and 1979's 154
). As a result, they had a tremendous influence through later decades on a variety of bands and rock music genres, notably in The Urinals
, and R.E.M
, who covered Wire's "Strange" on their Document
album. After a period of suspension (1980-1985) in favour of solo and non-Wire collaborative projects, the group reformed to renewed critical acclaim, but without carving quite the
same niche as in the earlier decade, continuing briefly as Wir
following Gotobed's departure in 1990 and reforming for a short while in May 1996 and on a (to date) permanent basis in September 1999.
This reformation has led to the release of two EPs
and an album (Send, 2003) thus far, as well as live collaborations with Es Devlin and Jake and Dinos Chapman.
Their influence on the Britpop movement should also not be understated; a particularly celebrated plagiarism case between Wire and Elastica over the similarity between Wire's 1977 song "Three Girl Rhumba" and Elastica's 1995 hit "Connection" resulting in an out-of-court settlement. Blur's work, along with many more minor Britpop bands, has been particularly redolent of 70s Wire at various points; like the Velvet Underground, Wire are a band whose influence has outshone their (comparatively modest) record sales by some distance.