Various Artists

Whore: Various Artists Play Wire

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AllMusic Review by

This is a tricky tribute album for two reasons. The first reason it's tricky is because Wire went through so many different sound styles in their own career. The second reason it's tricky is because of the variety of bands that interpret Wire songs here. Wire attacked their music with intelligence and a sense of art, so the extremes of the covers further abstract the original songs. It's unlikely any Wire fan will enjoy the album as a whole, and fans of any of the included bands aren't likely to enjoy every other band's style. One thing that's apparent from the get-go is that each band has a great respect for Wire, and that insures at least a halfway decent tribute album. There's accomplished dirge and aggression from Godflesh, aMiniature, and the Petty Tyrants. There's electronic experimentation from Scanner and Main. High points come from aMiniature, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Laika, and the Petty Tyrants; these bands incorporate elements from their own genres and the original Wire recordings. aMiniature's swirling, swaggering take on "A Serious of Snakes" is full of the attitude and quirkiness inherent in Wire's art attack. Lush achieves a nice blend of the art punk of Wire and their own dream pop. My Bloody Valentine's contribution, "Map Ref 41N 93W," isn't up to the level of their album Loveless, but it sees the band in an interesting, more-electronic moment. Most of the bands make a worthy attempt at honoring Wire's experimentation. When the artists fail here, it's usually on a grand scale. Chris Connelly was going for some strange, spooky feel with "A Mutual Friend." His high-pitched weirdness is almost unlistenable, but it's certainly interesting. Bark Psychosis do a sleazy, lounge rendition of "Three Girl Rhumba." Many bands don't take flight in their attempts to sound cool or indifferent. The best thing gleaned from Whore: Various Artists Play Wire might be an awareness of the experimentation and interest with which the artists cover Wire. It's the kind of album one might play here and there, probably skipping past certain tracks, but it's quite hard to love. Chiefly, it inspires play of the real thing; it makes a listener appreciate the inspired originals and Wire's hard-to-replicate attitude. One might call this tribute album "Wire-filtered." Wire's full-length albums really put Whore to shame, as the art and artifice on display here never equals Wire's spunky passion. Perhaps a better idea would have been for a smaller cache of bands from a wider time period (many of these bands are experimental, alternative flavors of the month/year) to interpret an entire album; the breadth of styles ultimately takes too strong of a toll, limiting the tribute's playability.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:03
2 2:28
3 4:21
4 4:51
5 2:44
6 5:14
7 4:39
8 2:05
9 3:23
10 3:32
11 4:39
12 3:40
13 2:58
14 3:43
15 4:30
16 3:14
17 1:04
18 4:11
19 2:30
20 3:45
21 3:07
blue highlight denotes track pick