With Wires, Australia's Art of Fighting produced a startlingly brilliant debut full-length, after the release of two highly acclaimed EPs on Half a Cow Records. The tender and atmospheric feel of the opening track, "Skeletons," and the heart-achingly breathtaking "Give Me Tonight," makes first-time listeners of Wires instantly taken aback, as Ollie Browne's delicate vocals deliver a resounding emotional tone. The powerful start to the disc quickly makes it clear why the album was named the Best Alternative Release of 2001 at the Australian Record Industry Awards soon after its release. Miles Browne, Peggy Frew, and Marty Brown round out the quartet, adding subtle guitar strumming and textured rhythm throughout. "Akula" is another dreamy art rock piece, with its minimal use of brushed drums, and "Moonlight" is one of the prettiest slowcore ballads this side of "Low." Frew appears on lead vocals on the fifth track, the evocative "I Don't Keep a Record," and "In No Good Way" easily offers up some of the fastest chord changes on an album defined by its wealth of mostly subdued songs. The seventh track, "Find You Lost" includes guest vocals by Marcus Barczak, and the organ and guitar on "Reasons are All I Have Left" combine for yet another surprisingly stunning track which, by this point, should no longer be surprising.
Often compared to Coldplay and Radiohead, Art of Fighting clearly stand on their own, embracing music as a religious-like experience, forgoing conventions for hushed vocals and restrained instrumental artistry. It's also important to note that, despite the sameness of tempo throughout, each song has its own formula, which, although predictable, delivers consistently powerful musical drama throughout the 11-song disc. "Just Say I'm Right" might well be the climax of an album full of many more peaks than valleys, as the band blasts out of its slowcore tendencies and embraces a bit of feedback and an increase of volume. The instrumental title track is next, before "Something New" closes out the disc with more refined, understated artistry. Recorded with producer Tim Whitten at Megaphon & Paradise Studios in late 2000, and originally released on Aussie label Trifekta Records in 2001, Chicago's 3 Beads of Sweat Records released Wires in the U.S. in late 2002. The album clearly showcased a band on the rise.