A Bell Is a Cup

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A Bell Is a Cup… Until It Is Struck
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 1988
RecordedDecember 1987
Live tracks recorded 1 December 1987 at the Town and Country Club, London, with the Manor Mobile
StudioPreußen Tonstudio, Berlin, West Germany
Length44:11 (LP)
70:19 (CD)
LabelMute, Enigma
ProducerGareth Jones
Wire studio album chronology
The Ideal Copy
A Bell Is a Cup… Until It Is Struck
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[2]
Robert ChristgauB+[3]

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

Critical response[edit]

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.".[4] 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."[5]

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.[6] 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.[6]

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."[1]

Cover art[edit]

The sculpture shown is the Selene horse from the Parthenon Marbles.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks published by Stainless Music.

All tracks are written by Wire.

1."Silk Skin Paws"4:53
2."The Finest Drops"5:01
3."The Queen of Ur and the King of Um"4:03
4."Free Falling Divisions"3:39
5."It's a Boy"4:26
6."Boiling Boy"6:22
7."Kidney Bingos"4:12
8."Come Back in Two Halves"2:43
9."Follow the Locust"4:22
10."A Public Place"4:30

The CD version appends the following tracks:

11."The Queen of Ur and the King of Um" (alternative version)4:02
13."Over Theirs" (live)6:36
14."Drill" (live)8:01




  1. ^ a b "A Bell Is A Cup… Until It Is Struck". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 2 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "CG: wire". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  4. ^ Green, Jim (1989). "Wire". In Ira A. Robbins (ed.). The Trouser Press Record Guide (third ed.). New York: Collier Books. p. 632. ISBN 0-02-036370-2.
  5. ^ DeRogatis, Jim; Wilson Neate. "Wire". Trouser Press. Trouser Press LLC. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  6. ^ a b Balfour, Brad (August 1988). "Wire". Reflex Magazine. 1 (6). p. 33.