British punk veterans Wire have released a disquieting, foreboding new track, “Nocturnal Koreans,” the titular song from an upcoming mini-album out April 22nd via the band’s Pinkflag label.
While “Nocturnal Koreans” is a fast-paced tune awash with dreamy guitars, the melody takes several sinister turns as singer Colin Newman soaks his vocals in reverb and keeps them at an eerily low level. The song’s build is subtle but chilling, tapering back for a bridge boasting quick-footed electronic percussion and Newman’s frank coo.
Nocturnal Koreans follows Wire’s 2015 self-titled LP, though its songs were first conceived during the sessions for that album. Still, Newman said in a statement that Nocturnal Koreans would be much different from Wire. “It’s the band being less respectful to itself,” he said, “in that it’s more created in the studio, rather than recorded basically as the band played it, which was mostly the case with Wire. A general rule for this record was: any trickery is fair game, if it makes it sound better.”
Since releasing their seminal debut, Pink Flag, in 1977, Wire has gone through multiple phases and taken several lengthy breaks, including an eight-year gap between 1979’s 154 and 1987’s The Ideal Copy, and then 12 between 1991’s The First Letter and 2003’s Send.
Wire officially reunited in 2000, and in a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Newman spoke about how important it was for the group to not be viewed as a legacy act. “You have contemporary, which means younger artists, or you have classic, which means older artists,” he said. “And the thing about classic is that nobody’s interested in the new album… Wire doesn’t feel comfortable with that. We want to be a contemporary band, and we fought very, very hard for that status. It means more to us than anything else. Yeah, we’re not young. Get over it, as we say in Britain.”