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.