The new millennium version of Wire has been intense and inspiring, but one puzzlement and disappointment has been the relative absence of Graham Lewis’s singing. I’ve always liked bands with more than one lead singer, particularly if the singers’ approaches were sufficiently different that (as with Wire’s “Ambitious”) if each singer did the same song in different versions, the song itself takes on a wholly different air.
In Wire’s newest material, Lewis’s voice has been rare, and when it has appeared, it’s either been electronically distorted or sounded rather shot, and I feared it was just gone. But here’s the Daytrotter Session version of “Mekon Headman” (which I’d like to think is about Jon Langford, but probably not…), whose original version is on Wire’s most recent Object 47, and Lewis’s voice is strong, supple, and powerful: not quite as complete an instrument as it was at its peak, but stronger than I’ve heard it for years. The performance is nice, too – but the version from these sessions of “Boiling Boy” is even better, with Lewis’s bass brought to the forefront. You need to listen to this loud, with either a good set of headphones or a nice pair of speakers; tinny little computer speakers cannot hold that bass.
(The other two songs from the session, “Mr Marx’s Table” and “Silk Skin Paws,” are well worth hearing and downloadable from the Daytrotter site.)
Wire “Mekon Headman” (Daytrotter Session, 2008)
Wire “Boiling Boy” (Daytrotter Session, 2008)