In 1977, Wire released one of the most influential and important records of all time. I should probably say it’s one of the best Punk records of all time too, but it goes beyond that. Way beyond. It’s 35 minutes of mind-blowing and euphoric songs that make you want to pick up a guitar, make some noise then trash the stage as you leave. It’s a riot in your ears, and it has never sounded or felt so good.
Wire are a band that held English Punk in their hands and squashed it to turn it into something else. They kept the aggression and the snarling sounds, and made it go beyond it being just Punk. Pink Flag is a defining record and you can’t believe something so fantastic was a debut record. It sounds like something from a band well into their career. It’s all well and good me going on about how amazing this record is now, but when it came out in 1977, it was pretty much overlooked. Which is just absolutely criminal. A record like Pink Flag doesn’t hit us all that often. It’s a record that once you hear it, that’s it- life changed for ever.
Lowdown is my favourite off Pink Flag, and I love that I can hear how bands like Fugazi and Black Flag have been influenced by this record, and probably this song. There is something about it that reminds me of Waiting Room by Fugazi. I think it’s all down to the vocals. Ian MacKaye has definitely taken notes from Pink Flag and who can blame him.
The songs are short but by no means sweet. They have a brilliant rage to them that makes you listen to them with how they are played- with urgency. Like I said, they just make you want to take a battered guitar and make a load of noise. It’s a record that you can lean on and let it unleash any fury or demons you may have. It’s a record that becomes more than a safety net and best friend. For me, the production is exceptional. It is above and beyond whatever else it was up against back in ’77.
Pink Flag is a record full of songs that in their absolute glory, smack you right in the chops and do not care for how much damage they cause. I know I said it goes beyond being a Punk record, but bloody hell it is such an amazing Punk record. I love how every song just feels like something you have never heard before, even if you’ve been listening to the record for decades and decades. However loud you want to play it, every song will have you moving about without a care. 106 Beats That is THE song that will definitely have you moving in all sorts of ways, and sure the songs aren’t that long but they don’t need to be. They’re just insanely brilliant and effortlessly cool.
Pink Flag has been cited by many as being an important record, and a record that you simply must own. I can’t help but think what it would have been like to have heard this record for the first time back in 1977. Imagine hearing the riff of Strange for the first time, and just being left with your jaw wide open in awe of how brilliant it is. Colin’s voice grips you and makes you feel like he’s taking you under his wing to join the cult of Wire. Imagine…just imagine first hearing this record all those years ago and having this feeling just absolutely take you over. Holy shit!
To sum up, Wire are one of the greatest bands of all time and Pink Flag- regardless when you hear it for the first time, will change your life and improve your record collection. What they did with this record, they have done all throughout their career and that’s why Punk will never ever die.