Wire – Not About To Die (Studio Demos 1977-1978) (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 39:23 minutes | 459 MB | Genre: Punk, New Wave
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © pinkflag
The original Not About To Die was an illegal bootleg, released in the early 1980s, by the dubiously named Amnesia Records. The album comprised selections of demos recorded by Wire for Chairs Missing and 154. These demos had been recorded for EMI, with cassette copies circulated amongst record company employees. However, they were never intended for release.A typically shoddy cash-in, the songs on Not About To Die were taken from a second- or possibly third-generation cassette, with the album housed in a grainy green and red photocopied sleeve. Compared with the high standards of production and design Wire have always been known for, it was something of an insult to band and fans alike.
Now, in a classic act of Wire perversity, the group have decided to redress the balance and reclaim one of the shadier moments of their history, by giving Not About To Die its first official release. All the tracks have been properly remastered, with relevant recording details in place. As for the artwork, while it strongly references the original, it is decidedly more artful in execution.
Having received proper care and attention, Not About To Die emerges as a fascinating snapshot of Wire in transition. Herein are embryonic versions of classic songs such as ‘French Film (Blurred)’, ‘Used To’ and ‘Being Sucked In Again’, that the group would develop considerably for their epochal 1978 album Chairs Missing. Later demos such as ‘Once Is Enough’, ‘On Returning’ and ‘Two People In A Room’ would surface in radically altered form on 1979’s 154.
Some songs, such as ‘The Other Window’, are virtually unrecognisable from their later iterations. But the biggest prizes here may well be the numerous tracks that were destined to be omitted from Wire’s later studio albums. Highlights include ‘Motive’, which, whilst obviously still in an embryonic state, has an undeniable power. Robert Grey’s drumming is crisp and minimal, and Graham Lewis’s bass runs are particularly ear-catching. Despite its distinctly un-Wire title, ‘Love Ain’t Polite’ is also something of a gem. Bruce Gilbert’s guitar is razor sharp and Colin Newman’s vocal is especially strong, with his delivery of the ‘bah-ba- bah-ba’s’ providing an irresistible energy and charm.
Meanwhile, the track which gives the album its title – Not About To Die (officially known as ‘Stepping Off Too Quick’) – is alive with confident energy, and possesses what Newman half jokingly calls “The best intro to any song ever”. The intro is so good in fact, that it takes up a third of the song’s entire time frame. These properly mastered tracks have never been available on vinyl before, and they provide an opportunity to hear Wire at a point in their development when they were bursting with fresh ideas and a will to communicate them. This is post-punk at its very finest.
1-01. Wire – Oh No Not So (Save The Bullet) [4th Demo] (01:35)
1-02. Wire – Culture Vultures (4th Demo) (02:06)
1-03. Wire – It’s The Motive (4th Demo) (01:18)
1-04. Wire – Love Ain’t Polite (4th Demo) (01:05)
1-05. Wire – French Film (Blurred) [4th Demo] (01:13)
1-06. Wire – Underwater Experiences (4th Demo) (03:13)
1-07. Wire – Stalemate (4th Demo) (02:15)
1-08. Wire – Options R (5th Demo) (01:47)
1-09. Wire – Indirect Enquiries V1 (5th Demo) (01:42)
1-10. Wire – Chairs Missing (Used To) [5th Demo] (04:08)
1-11. Wire – Being Sucked In Again (5th Demo) (03:38)
1-12. Wire – Ignorance No Plea (I Should Have Known Better) [6th Demo] (04:01)
1-13. Wire – Once Is Enough (6th Demo) (02:38)
1-14. Wire – The Other Window (6th Demo) (02:09)
1-15. Wire – Stepping Off Too Quick (Not About To Die) [6th Demo] (01:22)
1-16. Wire – On Returning (6th Demo) (01:49)
1-17. Wire – Former Airline (6th Demo) (01:12)
1-18. Wire – Two People In A Room (6th Demo) (02:02)