Sound — 9
It's not rock. It's not punk. It's...Art? Wow. That's a good starter descriptive for this confusing, terse, intense and abstract work from what could be considered the end of English art-school punk- before it fragmented into a thousand sub-genres with a lot of hyphens. Mining the same vein as Gang of Four, Wire uses angular guitar work, dramatic vocal scenarios, and an arresting habit of playing the main idea of a song- and then stopping it midstream. It's really not as frustrating as it sounds, and the lack of refusing to reiterate the point of a song, once it's been so plainly said, is actually one of the key points of this fantastic release. Unlike the afore-mentioned Gang of Four, however, this is still a very approachable album. You'll find yourself wishing the melodies to last longer, and then congratulate yourself for realizing that there ARE melodies. Pink Flag seems to be a difficult album at first, yet you'll soon find yourself wondering why you keep playing it.
Lyrics — 8
On this album, Wire is all over the place in terms of lyrical content. There's humor (on the classic 12XU), drama (the title track 'Reuters' may be the only song in history that makes you want to sing along to RAAAAAAAAAAPE!). There's no indictment of your personal values to make you feel horrible, but there IS a constant questioning of the things that "we", not "you", consider to be important. It really is an important listen, and a lesson in minimalism. Elder punks may groan at the word "minimalism", but Wire show that a little bit of a great idea may just leave you thinking for yourself.
Overall Impression — 9
Wire got a LOT more artsy on their future releases, incorporating synths and longer, dirge-y arrangements, which earned them the moniker "Punk Floyd". This review is not about comparing their later works. This is a singular work by a band that had so many ideas that, if they had fully explored them all, would have debuted with a 50 song album. As it stands, "Pink Flag" is a ridiculously creative idea bubble that history gets to appreciate.