Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

2. Wire154

It’s an album that had a massive effect on me when I was young. I remember on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable, there was a track from Journal For Plague Lovers which a member of Wire completely slagged off. So this shows how much I actually like this album, because he obviously hated us and thought were just plod-rocking, rock-dinosaur philistines. But despite that I’m still going to quote this as a really influential album for me. A lot of people pick Pink Flag and Chairs Missing as their favourite records, but for me this is the apex of their achievement: they’re still fusing really blunt-edge experimental rock with really abstract notions and wild ideologues and monologues of different sorts. There’s a song on there called ‘The 15th’ which is just an amazing song; there’s another song called ‘The Other Window’, which has a direct lineage from some of the Velvet Underground narrated songs like ‘The Gift’, and it’s about this guy travelling on a train and outside there’s an animal dying in a barbed-wire fence. There’s another song called ‘Two People In A Room’ which is just fucking brutal. A lot of people like Wire then they’re bleak or when people couldn’t get a handle on what they were saying, but I think on this you can pin down the emotion to the record, pin down the marriage of experimental edge with rock. For me, it’s one of the great lost post-punk records. It’s an amazing record that never really gets written about. It was produced by Mike Thorne who never did as good a record again. And I just love the cover: it’s got a very… almost Mondrian kind of vibe to it. It’s really strange and quite unsettling. I just love the record.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: The The, Johnny Marr, Simon Raymonde, Robert Hampson
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