Wire Credit: Giuliana Covella

In 1987, British punk and postpunk pioneers Wire pulled an unforgettable power move: After a few years’ hiatus, the band reconvened and announced a comeback tour. However, they were only interested in their new electronic material and refused to perform any of their beloved early songs. So they booked a Wire tribute band, the Ex-Lion Tamers (which included Chicago music critic Jim DeRogatis), to open for them and play their iconic 1977 album Pink Flag in its entirety. Decades down the line, they’re not so reluctant to revisit their storied history. Wire’s second act (or is it third?) has been under way since 2003, when they regrouped with original drummer Robert Grey (aka Robert Gotobed) following a ten-year break. The new Mind Hive (Pink Flag) is their eighth album since then (and their 17th full-length altogether), and it showcases much of what still makes the band unlike any other. Even when the arrangements are full and rich (as on the Krautrock-ish “Hung” and the droney, dreamy “Unrepentant”), their songs retain a distinctive chill austerity. The dystopian stomp of “Be Like Them” and the understated horror story in “Off the Beach” demonstrate that they haven’t lost their dark edges either—there’s an uneasiness lurking in every corner and in all 35 minutes. And this will continue to be a good year for Wire fans: not only is there a new album and tour, but the band are also collaborating with writer Graham Duff and director Malcolm Boyle on a forthcoming crowdsourced documentary, People in a Film, that spans Wire’s entire career. Footage from the film—including the bandmates walking around a village, riding a tractor, and collaborating in the studio—can be seen in their video for “Cactused.” On this tour, Wire will also show off their DJ skills; a different member will spin an opening set each night.   v