Colin Newman
A-Z / Provisionally Entitled The Singing Fish / Not To
(Sentient Sonics)

The frontman and principal songwriter for Wire, though he’s certainly known for Wire’s vast influence in the world of post-punk, in the early ’80s Newman released a trio of under appreciated albums. These 3 albums are now reissued as single albums with a companion CD complete with additional tracks, B-sides, demos- many of which have never been released.

A-Z essentially extends right from the early work of Wire, blending post-punk with analogue synth, and trademark Newman guitar work where distortion sits well against angular and even pop moments. The bonus disc collects 17 tracks, including demos from both the studio and in home.

Provisionally Entitled To Singing Fish, originally released in 1981, foreshadows Newman’s later work in film scoring, where instrumentals are not bound by any trappings of what a song should sound like, and highlights Newman’s ability to work well outside his comfort zone i.e. krautrock, art and ambient influenced. The bonus disc adds alternate version with vocals, B-sides and, of course, demos.

Not To, largely considered Newman’s best solo work, sounds even better here in its remastered form. Comfortably residing on the melodic side of the spectrum, Newman’s 1982 album refines art and psyche-rock and includes a hazy cover of “Blue Jay Way”. The accompanying disc contains 21 unreleased songs(!), many of which hint toward what Newman would do later on.

As far as reissues go, it just doesn’t get any better than this in terms of quality, quantity and importance. There exists a colossal amount of work here that parallels the best of the best in post-punk, and if, for some inconceivable reason, you’re not a fan of Wire, most of our musical heroes were influenced by them at some point, so this at least deserves a thorough listen.

Purchase the album here.

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