The Ideal Copy

The Ideal Copy
Studio album by
Released April 1987
Recorded November 1986β€”January 1987
Studio Hansa Tonstudio, Berlin, West Germany
Strongroom, London, UK
Metropol, Berlin, West Germany (Live 1986)
Length 34:39 (Original album)
63:18 (Reissue with bonus tracks)
Label Mute, Enigma
Producer Gareth Jones
Wire studio album chronology
The Ideal Copy
A Bell Is a Cup
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [1]
Rolling Stone (Not Rated)[2]
Robert Christgau Bβˆ’[3]

The Ideal Copy is the fourth studio album by the English rock group Wire. It was the first full-length recording following the band's hiatus of 1980–1985. (The band had recorded and released the Snakedrill EP in 1986 after reuniting). Mute Records released the album. The Ideal Copy peaked at number 87 in the UK albums chart.[4]

Wire had used electronic instruments on the albums Chairs Missing and 154, but following their hiatus, Wire more openly embraced the use of sequencers, synthesisers, and drum machines. This prompted music critics to compare The Ideal Copy to groups such as New Order.[5][6] One critic, Kirk Fillmore, further compared the electric bass's sound on the single "Ahead" to that of New Order's Peter Hook, though bassist Graham Lewis had played in such a style on previous Wire albums.[7] Indeed, journalist Richard Grabel pointed out that "New Order and any number of other synths-and-guitars bands took cues from late-70s Wire," suggesting that "things [had] come full circle."[8]

In May 1988, The Ideal Copy became the first popular music recording to be commercially released on DAT format.[9]

The album title

The phrase "the ideal copy" is repeated throughout the song "Ambitious." Graham Lewis, in a Creem interview, stated "the ideal copy" ultimately refers to DNA, "but Bruce [Gilbert] had a dream about it and decided we had to take that out of the song".[8]


Allmusic said the album was a "stunning comeback picking up where 154 left off while also reflecting the strides made by the members' solo work" and that the album was "experimental and forward-thinking".[10]

Track listing

All titles written by Wire (Graham Lewis/Colin Newman/Bruce Gilbert/Robert Gotobed).

  1. "Point of Collapse" β€“ 3:18
  2. "Ahead" β€“ 4:53
  3. "Madman's Honey" β€“ 4:23
  4. "Feed Me" β€“ 5:50
  5. "Ambitious" β€“ 4:00
  6. "Cheeking Tongues" β€“ 2:02
  7. "Still Shows" β€“ 4:00
  8. "Over Theirs" β€“ 5:18

In addition to the eight album tracks, the compact disc and cassette configurations appended the Snakedrill EP in its entirety, along with three concert recordings:

  1. "A Serious of Snakes" β€“ 4:53
  2. "Drill" β€“ 5:05
  3. "Advantage in Height" β€“ 3:05
  4. "Up to the Sun" β€“ 2:50
  5. "Ambulance Chasers" (Live) β€“ 3:02
  6. "Feed Me" (Live) β€“ 4:27
  7. "Vivid Riot of Red" (Live) β€“ 2:28

The UK CD edition on Mute Records (CD STUMM 42), in addition to the eight album tracks, appends a different version of "Ahead", as well as the Snakedrill EP and the three concert recordings:

  1. "Ahead (II)" β€“ 3:29
  2. "A Serious of Snakes" β€“ 4:42
  3. "Drill" β€“ 5:03
  4. "Advantage in Height" β€“ 3:02
  5. "Up to the Sun" β€“ 2:42
  6. "Ambulance Chasers" (Live) β€“ 2:55
  7. "Feed Me" (Live) β€“ 4:28
  8. "Vivid Riot of Red" (Live) β€“ 2:22




  1. ^
  2. ^ Walters, Barry (24 September 1987). "Wire (Album Reviews)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  3. ^ "CG: Wire". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  4. ^ Wire albums the official charts
  5. ^ Davis, Michael. Record review. Creem September 1987: 21
  6. ^ DeRogatis, Jim & Neate, Wilson. "Wire". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2005.
  7. ^ Fillmore, Kirk. Record review. Façade June 1987: 4
  8. ^ a b Grabel, Richard. "Wire of the Tastiest Kind." Creem September 1987: 31+
  9. ^ Media, Spin L.L.C. (December 1988). "Back in the Days of '88". Spin. 4 (9): 71.
  10. ^ "The Ideal Copy - Wire | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.