Wire

Object 47 (Pink Flag)

Together, on and off, for 32 years, Wire has remained vital through constant redefinition. As members of Britain's legendary Class of '77, the group has never been burdened by its association with punk, instead operating as an aggressive and sometimes paranoid art-rock band. Up till now, the band has maintained its original members throughout its storied career. (When Robert Gotobed quit for most of the '90s, the remaining members changed the name to Wir.) Object 47 is Wire's first release without founding member Bruce Gilbert.

Gilbert's departure has resulted in what might otherwise be either a Colin Newman solo album or another release by his pop side project, Githead, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Object 47 features an immaculate sound that might bookend quite nicely with the current spate of Wire-influenced bands such as the Rakes or Futureheads. The new album skips over the louder/harder tendencies of Wire's last long-player, Send, in favor of a futuristic, high-gloss pop sound that is immediately appealing, yet a bit off-putting once the listener is familiar enough to understand the lyrics. Tracks like "One of Us (Will Rue the Day We Ever Met the Other)" are a far cry from your average love song, and typify Wire's intriguingly off-kilter approach to rock.