Wire: Three Girl Rhumba (Pink Flag)
Think of a number, divide it by two / something is nothing, nothing is nothing.
OK, another new series – and, yeah, the blog has went a little series crazy in the past week or so, hasn’t it?
7×7:1977, you won’t be surprised to discover, will consist of 49 tracks from 1977 and with Wire about to start a tour in less than a week’s time that will take in Turkey, Israel, Finland, Poland and America, I thought I’d kick things off with the third track on their debut album.
‘Pink Flag is very much about the climate of the time: about 1977, about punk rock’, Wire’s singer/guitarist Colin Newman reflected in Wilson Neate’s book Pink Flag (33 1/3). ‘But it’s not a punk record. It’s about giving punk a good kicking using the tools of punk. It was very much about not being like the Sex Pistols or the Clash – or another rock band.’
Three Girl Rhumba is my favourite track on Pink Flag and contains the one Wire guitar riff that everyone knows – even though they might well know it from Elastica’s Connection.
For over three decades I had no idea what had inspired Three Girl Rhumba: like many other Wire compositions the title sounded like an impenetrable crossword clue and the lyrics made little sense to me but then, again through Neate’s book on the album (which I’d definitely recommend), I finally discovered it was apparently a love song.
As Newman explained: ‘There were three girls and there really was a choice and I ended up with the one who was ‘the impossible’: there was one I kind of wanted to be with, but it wasn’t going to happen; there was another who wanted to be with me, and I didn’t want to be with her and then suddenly Annette entered the picture. She was so impressive and amazing and I succeeded. It was like pulling off the impossible.’
Over the years the influence of Wire has continued to manifest itself, from the aforementioned Elastica, Blur and Menswe@r – who Allmusic claimed sounded ‘more like Wire than Elastica, only funnier, even if it may be unintentional’ – through Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads and across the Atlantic to LCD Soundsystem and Liars.
Dot Dash, a Washington D.C.quartet, borrowed their name from Wire’s third single but few Wireisms were discernable on their first two albums, spark>flame>ember>ash (2011) and Winter Garden Light (2012).
The band got in touch with the blog to send me their new video for A Light in The Distance, a song from their recently released (third) album Half-Remembered Dream and I’m very glad they did.
Available now on Canadian indie label, The Beautiful Music, the album is crammed full of melodic but dynamic gems and could feature in a number of end of year best-of lists, including my own. I’ve only had the chance to listen to Half-Remembered Dream a couple of times so far but I’m already convinced it’s one of the finest American albums of 2013.
Louder Than War agree and have just declared them ‘your next favourite riff sodden but also tune filled band’ and here is that video of the guys performing a short sharp slice of Buzzcocks meet Hüsker Dü noisy pop:
And here’s a free download for A Light in The Distance (via Bandcamp).
Half-Remembered Dream is available to buy as a download via Bandcamp, iTunes, eMusic, Amazon and from The Beautiful Music.
For more on Dot Dash: Facebook