Though Turns and Strokes isn't quite the definitive Wire live album fans have been clamoring for, it is fascinating nonetheless. Consisting of various live recordings and rehearsal tapes from 1979 and 1980, the album is packed with superb versions of previously unavailable songs, as well as two cuts from the EP EP . The album definitely shows Wire's varied strengths, from the extended experimental space rock of "A Panamanian Craze?" to the brutal thrash of "Safe." The real treat for fans will be the recordings of songs that appeared on Colin Newman's solo albums A-Z and Not To, recorded by the full band. All are excellent, with the band giving each cut a power and sound that Newman alone could have never done. As an added bonus, the set includes a live version of "12XU" that's even more manic and ferocious than the studio recording. Though the sound quality is variable, ranging from barely adequate to surprisingly clear, the strength of the performances is enough to overcome any lack of high fidelity. This is certainly not the place for Wire newcomers to start, since most of this is archival material, but for hardcore fans, Turns and Strokes will be a required purchase.
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AllMusic Review by Victor W. Valdivia