San Francisco’s Wire Train made a big splash late in 1983 with In a Chamber. Released by Columbia Records as distributor for local indie 415 Records, the LP was an auspicious debut for the new wave foursome of Kevin Hunter, Kurt Herr, Anders Rundblad, and Federico Gil-Sola. It’s recently made its standalone debut on CD (and in expanded form!) from a company also making a big splash. Supermegabot Music Concern was formed by industry veterans Jeff Rougvie and the late Thomas Enright (both of Rykodisc and EMI) to give new attention to deserving albums and artists. The label has already reissued the two long-players from Boston band Human Sexual Response as well as the solo debut of Tsar frontman Jeff Whalen, and all of the releases bear the highest quality of packaging and sound.
In a Chamber, the first of Wire Train’s six studio albums, was produced and engineered by David Kahne (The Bangles, Fishbone) who went on to helm albums by artists including Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett. At the time, Kahne was working in A&R for 415 out of an office upstairs from CBS’ San Francisco recording studio, The Automatt. That was, naturally, the site where Wire Train recorded their first record. Hunter and Herr, in addition to providing vocals and guitar, wrote all of the album’s songs.
Hunter and Herr’s guitars, Rundblad’s bass, and Gil-Sola’s drums all shone in Kahne’s crisp, clean production, and In a Chamber endures not only due to their musicianship and sheer energy but to the strength of its hook-filled songwriting. Touching on jangle pop, psychedelia, and pure rock-and-roll, the band ripped through the catchy, accessible melodies and moody, layered lyrics. “I’ll Do You” and “Chamber of Hellos” were both released as singles, backed with (respectively) “It’s Only Dark” and “Never,” but almost every track on the album would have made for a suitable 45 RPM release.
Supermegabot’s expanded and remastered reissue adds six bonus tracks including the aforementioned flipside “It’s Only Dark” plus “Personne Jamais” and “Mr. Soul,” the B-sides of the “Chamber of Hellos” 12-inch single. The latter is a blazing rendition of Neil Young’s 1967 Buffalo Springfield anthem, also recorded by artists as diverse as Cher, Rush, and the Everly Brothers. These are joined by three more cuts originally issued on 12-inch singles: the London Mix of “Chamber of Hellos” and the Ivan Ivan Extended Remixes of “I’ll Do You” and “Chamber of Hellos.”
The limited-edition CD, available through Supermegabot’s website, is housed in a deluxe, gloss-coated, Japanese-style, tip-on mini-LP sleeve that replicates the original vinyl design. The CD itself gains a layer of extra protection via an inner sleeve with smooth interior finish to prevent disc scuffing.
This new wave/post-punk gem is available for order now directly from Supermegabot – or from the usual suspects including Amazon, eBay, and Discogs. (Ordering from the label is the best and least expensive route, however!) At the label’s website you’ll also find out about related projects like Jeff Rougvie’s acclaimed Image Comics series Gunning for Hits. Working with artist Moritat (The Spirit, Jonah Hex) and colorist-letterer Casey Silver, Rougvie has drawn on his experiences with artists such as the late David Bowie to take readers on a wild and unexpected trip through the seamy underbelly of the music business in the 1980s.
Watch this space for information on upcoming releases from Supermegabot Music Concern, and don’t miss out on the deluxe, expanded edition of Wire Train’s In a Chamber. You’ll find it available at the link below!
Wire Train, In a Chamber (415/Columbia BFC 38998, 1983 – reissued Supermegabot SMBCD 50003, 2019) (Order here from Supermegabot)
- I’ll Do You
- Everything’s Turning Up Down Again
- I Forget It All (When I See You)
- Chamber of Hellos
- Slow Down
- She’s on Fire
- I Gotta Go
- Love Against Me
- It’s Only Dark
- Personne Jamais
- Mr. Soul
- Chamber of Hellos (London Mix)
- I’ll Do You (Ivan Ivan Extended Mix)
- Chamber of Hellos (Ivan Ivan Extended Mix)
Track 11 from 415/Columbia single 38-04386, 1984
Tracks 12-13 from 415/CBS (U.K.) 12-inch single TA 4094, 1983
Track 14 from 415/CBS (U.K.) 12-inch single TX 6820, 1985
Tracks 15-16 from 415/Columbia 12-inch single 44-00501, 1984