Ex Lion Tamer

Song Review by

”Ex Lion Tamer” Newman/$Gilbert/$Lewis/$Gotobed (1977)

Wire’s excellent debut, Pink Flag displays an impressive will to forge new musical territories from the fertile breeding grounds of the British punk explosion. On ”Ex Lion Tamer” they combine an irreverent punk anthem with an ingrained penchant for angular, caffeine induced jitter rock. The opening verse is classic Wire, clipped guitars bounce off the counter rhythmic chop of drums while singer Colin Newman remains detached as he sings in hiccup like accents, “There’s great danger / For the loneliest ranger in town / No silver bullets / Tonto’s split the scene.” The track then smartly launches into a straight-ahead blast of a four chord chorus with Newman pointing to the stifling habitual routines of modern life with razor sharp accuracy, bolstered by shout-a-long backing vocals for every other line as he sings, “Next week will solve all your problems / But now, fish fingers all in a line / And all the milk bottles stand empty / Stay glued to your TV set” As usual, Pink Flag song’s don’t hang around long enough to get stale, after a minute and a half the boys hammer away at the last line, working it into a call and response vamp, rumbling guitars and chiming high notes propelling the tune forward while Newman mockingly implores, “Stay glued to your TV set!” -the band bashing gleefully behind. –Tom Maginnis

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Pink Flag 1977 Pink Flag 2:19
On Returning (1977-1979) 1989 Restless Records 2:18
Pink Flag/Chairs Missing/154 2000 EMI Music Distribution 2:19
Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:20