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A Bell Is a Cup

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Released  May 1988
Length  44:17
Artist  Wire
Producer  Gareth Jones
Recorded  December 1987
A Bell Is A Cup… Until It Is Struck (1988)  IBTABA (1989)
Release date  May 1988
Label  Mute Records
A Bell Is a Cup httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbf
Studio  Preußen Tonstudio, Berlin, West Germany
Genres  Post-punk, Alternative rock
Similar  The Ideal Copy, IBTABA, Manscape, The Drill, The First Letter

A Bell Is a Cup… Until It Is Struck is the fifth studio album by the British post-punk group Wire.


Wire the queen of ur and the king of um

Critical response

In 1989, the Trouser Press Record Guide described the album as "a stylized set of dreamscapes and consciousness streams… It's arguably Wire's most ruminative album, and while immersion in it won't, as 'Silk Skin Paws' suggests, 'wring your senses' – that's more a job for Chairs Missing – it will twirl your lobes a time or two.". However, in a later edition, Trouser Press held a more critical view, writing "Wire stayed the dance-pop course with diminishing results on A Bell Is a Cup."

At the time of the album's release, Wire faced accusations that they had abandoned their earlier rough-edged sound for a softer, more refined style. Graham Lewis dismissed such criticism:

This is a fallacy… When [Wire's early albums] were released, they were considered more polished than other records at the time. Every record that's been made, the same criticism of being less abrasive has been levelled at it. The abrasion is actually in the content – both lyrics and sound.

Allmusic gave the album a laudatory review, describing the record as "arguably Wire's best album and certainly its most accessible… a work of modern rock genius."

Track listing

All tracks published by Stainless Music.

All tracks written by Wire.

The CD version appends the following tracks:


  • Bruce Gilbert
  • Robert Gotobed
  • Graham Lewis (credited as "Lewis")
  • Colin Newman
  • Songs

    1Silk Skin Paws4:52
    2The Finest Drops
    3The Queen of Ur & The King of Um4:01


    A Bell Is a Cup Wikipedia

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