Like Gary Numan meets early XTC on Wire’s Change Becomes Us, an album of songs recorded right after the group’s second LP Chairs Missing. Worsening tensions within and without the group prevented Change Becomes Us from being released in its original form, though most of the songs have been floating around as bootlegs since the early 80s. So what happened? Because it hasn’t just been three decades between Change Becomes Us and its stylistic predecessor, Chairs Missing; it’s been ten albums from Wire as well.
Change Becomes Us is eerily predictive; even its most firmly 80s moments are perfectly in step with contemporary krautrock-influenced guitar music. At its best, the album is an intensely workable convalescence of 1980s post-punk energy and crisp, modern production; at its worst, well – some of the songs are boring. Change Becomes Us runs long, and the album tends towards existential lyrical drones.
“Re-Invent Your Second Wheel” contains a jumble of letters that almost sound like internet-speak – the goofy, disjointed lyrics bounce off the guitars like sharp, expressive balls of light.
This is an album very much in the vein of early-80s android-oriented, corporate-looking freak rock. There is a very strict – very German – seriousness to the music that manages to also be (purposefully) emotionally unevocative. Change Becomes us is a fun album, though an unmistakably bleak one, too. It’s the kind of album whose songs could only have been written in the late 70s and early 80s – distressing, pessimistic, and packed with joyous attention to the guitar.