A Bell Is a Cup ... Until It Is Struck is a 1988 album by the British art punk/electronic group Wire.
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 that "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 leveled 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" and "a work of modern rock genius.
All titles by Wire, published by Stainless Music.
- "Silk Skin Paws"
- "The Finest Drops"
- "The Queen of Ur and the King of Um"
- "Free Falling Divisions"
- "It's a Boy"
- "Boiling Boy"
- "Kidney Bingos"
- "Come Back In Two Halves"
- "Follow the Locust"
- "A Public Place"
The CD version appends the following tracks:
- "The Queen of Ur and the King of Um" (alternative version)
- "Over Theirs" (live)
- "Drill" (live)