Wire Train: In A Chamber (1983)

I know, I know... you're probably thinking that at some point I'm gonna run out of jangly mid-80s college radio bands. But not today, folks, not today.

Wire Train were based here in my (current) home town of San Francisco, sporting that familiar jangly guitar sound -- shades of R.E.M., Miracle Legion, Let's Active -- augmented by a darker, bass-driven new wave edge calling to mind the early work of the Cure or maybe the Psychedelic Furs (the haircuts in the videos below confirming the band's new wave bona fides).

Plenty of upbeat, chiming pop here, like the infectious opener "I'll Do You" and "I Forget It All (When I See You)," both sporting the sort of sing-along choruses seemingly ready-made for college radio airplay and dorm-room mixtapes. But then you've got a more new wave groove in some tunes that suggests the guys were spending a lot of time hanging out with their early Cure and U2 and British post-punk LPs -- the frenetic "Everything's Turning Up Down Again," and the haunting, reverb-drenched "Chamber of Hellos."

Like their peers, there is definitely a distinctive eighties-ness to the overall package, but it's a solid album that is worth checking out. They went on to record about a half-dozen records, a pretty consistent body of work with some real gems, taking on a slicker, harder rocking alt.rock sound as they entered the 90s (though 1990's self-titled album has some lovely slices of Americana). (In A Chamber was re-released a couple years back with bonus tracks, including a nifty cover of Neil Young's "Mr. Soul.")

Here's the video for "I'll Do You":
Here they are lip-syncing "Chamber of Hellos" on American Bandstand (!) back in '83:
Here's a rousing live take on "I Forget It All" a few years later: