22 Mar 2013

Teeth of the Sea give their praise to Wire

The Quietus asked some of their favourite artists Why they love Wire and a couple of members of Teeth of the Sea who are collaborating with Wire tomorrow responded:

Mat Colegate, Teeth Of The Sea
I've always thought of Wire as a warped British psychedelic band, embodying a similar mixture of Lewis Carroll surrealism (shone through a JG Ballard prism) and primo art school thuggery as bands like John's Children or early Soft Machine. Most of all though, they're Wire, a meeting place for willful obfuscation and chiming white-light clarity. Fucking great Pop, in other words. Wire are a bit more on the ball melody wise than Teeth Of The Sea are, it has to be said. But, yeah, they definitely take their conceptual side pretty seriously, which is something we all really admire. They have a similar approach to ideas as we do, maybe? That it doesn't matter if you're the best player in the world, or the greatest song writer. You can think your way successfully through musical situations if you use the right blend of literal and lateral thinking. If you look back at their work you can see how important humour is as well. Although maybe it's closer to the 'Umour' of the surrealists? I don't know, because I don't know what 'Umour' means. It's like Harmolodics or something. Baffling and brilliant. Very appropriate.

I think Change Becomes Us is brilliant. I've listened to it three times today already. 'Adore Your Island' is like the perfect song or something, isn't it? Like The Who if they'd been bought up by Wilhelm Reich. I love the weird polish the album has, and the vocal effects. To be honest, I think pretty much every other guitar band in the country should have a listen and a good hard look at themselves, irrespective of their fucking age.

It's difficult to say how the rehearsal for Saturday went as I was busy psychically high-fiving the fourteen year old me. It was great. We plugged in and we did it. Fast, noisy and ferocious. And fun, don't forget fun. The cherry on the cake was being told that the extremely nice sports car outside the studio belonged to Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet (to be honest the 'X1 WET' reg plate should have given it away) which led on to a long involved conversation about the existence or otherwise of Pellow's fabled 'Heroin Moose'. There was a moment when we were playing though, when Colin and Graham both looked up at each other and cracked out in smiles and that's what will stay with me, I'd imagine. Can't wait to play 'Drill' on Saturday! Prepare for thunder...

Sam Barton, Teeth Of The Sea
I love Wire for their creative fearlessness - one can never make a sound too weird, too nasty or, conversely, too pretty. A delight in exploring sound for its own sake and a recognition that texture and timbre are as important in musical composition as melody/harmony/rhythm. An understanding that the idea of 'song' can go beyond first person confessional/forced metaphor/protest or any other tropes that usually signify the literary within the 'rock canon'. A willingness to credit their audience with sufficient intelligence to follow them on whatever twists and turns they choose to take them on. An almost infuriating ability to do all this and still turn out pop music so damn infectious that most 'mainstream' acts would kill to be able to write it.

I actually got into them via Lush's cover of  'Outdoor Miner', which was the B-side of the 'For Love' single (1992 I think). About two months later I found the 7" of the Wire original (on white vinyl) on a school trip to Stratford Upon Avon. The B-side was 'Practice Makes Perfect' which was like nothing I'd ever heard at that point. Just the space, texture of those tracks and weird opaque nature of the lyrics. The simmering whole-tone menace of 'Practice Makes Perfect', the outrageous tunefulness of 'Outdoor Miner', the way these things sat together within the same band. Weirdly I actually ended up years later giving that record away to John (ex ToTS member) once I had all the tunes on CD as I occasionally go through these drunken 'potlatch' moments of giving favourite discs to friends.   I think Wire represent a lot of the ideals I strive for in making music. The fact that they're always working, even if it's not on the conventional band treadmill of records, tours etc, for example they'll do sound installations, collaborations with visual artists and deconstructions of their own work. They also blur the notions of high and low art which is a philosophy that ToTS have always pitched our tent around . For example I've always had this ideal in music of the 'bohemian football hooligan anthem', it's something Jimmy and I have discussed at length over the years. Basically the most perfect examples of the form are 'Needle In The Camel's Eye' by Eno and 'I Am The Fly' by Wire. That's not meant to sound flippant - if you can write an insane polyrhythmic song that lyrically makes Metamorphosis look a bit on the safe side and still make it a Saturday night air-puncher then you've truly achieved greatness. The pop thing is really important, it's not ivory tower experimentalism, it's to be put out into the world.

The rehearsal for Saturday was amazing. Any experience that begins with Colin Newman making you a cup of tea is going to be amazing, right? We geeked out over the effects pedals for a bit, then got down to putting together a colossal slab of noise. I was obviously a bit nervous about how it would go down but they seemed to really like what we did.

Read the article in full here: The Quietus