Wire's art-school approach to punk set the U.K. quartet apart from its brasher contemporaries. Drawing more from avant-garde ideas about minimalism than from stripped-down rock & roll, Wire extracted the essential elements of pop (beat, rhythm, melody) and left it at that. The result was a deceptively simple, unemotional sound whose success rode on the tension between the group's often introspective lyrics, barked vocals, and sparse instrumentation. Despite little attention in the beginning, Wire's first three albums are among the most influential on the postpunk era.

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