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A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 12 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mute U.S.
  • ASIN: B00004SH9D
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,995 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Silk Skin Paws
2. The Finest Drops
3. The Queen Of Ur And The King Of Um
4. Free Falling Divisions
5. It's A Boy
6. Boiling Boy
7. Kidney Bingos
8. Come Back In Two Halves
9. Follow The Locust
10. A Public Place
11. The Queen Of Ur And The King Of Um (Alternative Version)
12. Pieta
13. Over Theirs (Live)
14. Drill (Live)

Product Description

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
There seems to be two kinds of Wire fans - lovers of the punky, jagged early Wire (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing) and fans of the 80s synth-art-rock Wire (Ideal Copy/Bell is a Cup/Manscape). I prefer the synth-art-rock Wire; the austere, glacial soundscapes provide the perfect backdrop for the band's dreamlike poetical lyrics. I couldn't help noticing that the average rating for Ideal Copy among other reviewers is low. This is I think a misleading indicator of this particular oeuvre. Not only is Ideal Copy regarded in many circles as being the best Wire album period, being preferred to the more polished A Bell is a Cup..., it is songwise an absolute stunna. All the Wire hits are here in their original versions: Over Theirs - a titanic, unstoppable juggernaut of a song "Something snaps/Over and over/Just below the skyline/Just out of sight"; Ahead (voted by the fans at the best Wire tune) a fast-paced anthem with severe hit potential; Public Place is a truly harrowing experience - in a good way - but too mesmerising to turn off (Wire later did a more airbrushed version on their live album IBTABA). Things cheer up a bit with Ambitious - a foot-tapping (shades of Depeche Mode here) number complete with driving, rock-solid drum rhythm courtesy of ace sticksman Robert Gotobed. Madman's Honey and Point of Collapse are rich in swooning melody but the gothic, enigmatic public-sector greyness keeps it from going gooey (my kind of recipe). If you've never heard Wire before think Cure without the whining singing or a more polished, happier Joy Division. Apparently post-punk is coming back in style - if so the Ideal Copy is going to be getting some serious rotation. Impress your friends by staying one step ahead.
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Format: Audio CD
A Bell is a Cup is clearly Wire's most accessible album. Chock full of pop ditties with danceable rhythms and shimmering guitars, it roughly fit the late eighties landscape of pop music in the UK.
There are no assaultative guitars, no punk-propelled drums on ABIAC. The songs are pop sugar, but not so simple. The lyrics are often bizarre and obtuse (of course!), and even the themes are hard to discern. Just as angular, weird, and incomprehensible as their first 4 full-length albums, ABIAC is a smoother listen, and very enjoyable at the same time.
A few of these tracks you may have heard on other Wire albums. A warning-- "The Finest Drops" herein is outshone many times over by the version on the IBTABA album a few years later. "Come Back in Two Halves" is one of the quartet's finest few minutes, and the magnificent single "Kidney Bingoes" is perhaps their best known song, and one of their best. The bonus tracks, such as the live version of "Drill" (the best, in my opinion) and the remarkable "Pieta" are not jetsam from wasted studio time, but marvelous tracks that help balance out the work as a whole.
With only a few disappointing tracks, such as "The Finest Drops" and "The Queen of Ur" (you might need amphetamines to stay awake during this one, folks), A Bell is a Cup (ABIAC) is one of Wire's finest albums, and worth more than a few listens.
Also, fans of Wire-- if you haven't seen a CD called WHORE, which is a 21-song tribute to Wire, you really should. It's worth it... Wire songs interpreted by various rock and pop bands in many styles. Only one of the songs from ABIAC is on WHORE, but for fans of both Wire's early period in the late 1970s and their smoother pop period in the 1980s, WHORE is a good bet to please.
ken32
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By Mons on Jan. 24 2002
Format: Audio CD
Wire - an important though unsung new wave group (in other words they were musically and lyrically brilliant but did not sell as many records as, say, Rod Stewart) that made an impact with the release of their debut, Pink Flag in 1977. They were jaggedly new wave but also sophisticated and had an ear for melody. After three albums, they disappeared for a while and resurfaced in the mid-80s with a string of stunning records and a more polished sound. The first of which was the celebrated The Ideal Copy and the second, the even more refined A Bell is a Cup.
A Bell received a lukewarm reception from the music press who complained that the band was becoming diluted and commercial. This is a tragedy because I believe it is their best record, their crowning achievement, and one of the best albums of the 80s, right up there alongside Depeche Mode's Black Celebration, and XTC's English Roundabout etc.
The sound is deep and dark and sometimes bleak but always beautiful, thought-provoking and immensely rewarding. All the songs are great, but in my view, Free Falling Divisions, Queen of ER, Kidney Bingos and Public Place are masterpieces of melody, arrangement and wordsmithery. And on this splendid CD version you get extra toons to take the running time up to 74 minutes. Good value!!
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Format: Audio CD
Bigger news to me than Elvis's comeback in 1969, this made little impression upon its release (a friend gave his copy to me) and has grown to be one of my favorite Wire albums in passing years. The A-sides collection (with favorites picked by the fan club) pulls mostly from this lp, and for good reason. The boys adopted a more modern and muscular sound, with repetition and hooks taking place of their moody experimentation of the previous decade. Funny how close modern popular music has come to this some 15 years later. The ambitious propulsion of "Ahead" and "Cheeking Tongues" are very friendly to the ear, and the powerful groove of "Over Theirs" sucks me into its grip every time (I usually play it at least twice in a row). For oddities closer to the old Wire, check out the minimal terrorism of "Feed Me", easily one of their most unsettling pieces. (The live version contained herein flips Colin Newman onto vocals instead of Graham Lewis. Both are chilling and hypnotic.) Still experimental within new guidelines (more with rhythms than backdrops) they managed to produce yet another ambitious effort that the world just wasn't ready for in 1987. (They would later chart this course into obliviion and insignificance, so it's nice to hear works with such freshness.)
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