In a post nuclear world I swear that the only things left alive will be cockroaches and art-punk survivors Wire. Most of their contemporaries are dead, retired or treading the nostalgia circuit reduced to re-playing their best albums in their entirety like extras in a musical version of Dantes Inferno. Wire however are as fresh, progressive and full of vim and vigour as they were when first holed up in the studio recording debut Pink Flag in 1977. New live album The Black Session captures the band performing a mix of tracks from their latest critically acclaimed album Red Barked Tree and classics from their vast back catalogue in front of an invited, and very polite if the applause is anything to go by, audience in Paris in May last year.

Performing a set consisting of tracks from their latest album interspersed with classics could easily have shown up their later songs as poor imitations. Impressively it does exactly the opposite. While some tracks do suffer by comparison most notably the slow, sluggish and inconsequential 'Adapt', a poor choice of album opener, in the main the Red Barked Tree tracks more than stand their own. In fact a couple of them, the stomping, distorted 'Moreover' and spunky, punky 'Smash' have a decent claim to the title of best track on the album despite the presence of Wire classics like 'Kidney Bingos' and 'Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW'. Damon Albarn would give up his ex-girlfriend's collection of Wire rarities to have written a track like 'Clay' another contender for best track on the album. It's choppier than a butchers window with more angles than an east end spiv. The album ends with extensively extended versions of the title tracks from their first and latest albums a nice piece of symmetry which serves to consolidate the impression that Wire in 2012 have as much to offer as their younger, hairier, skinnier, hungrier selves of 1977.

If the Black Session was released by a gang of bright young things with the right haircut and shoes they'd be lauded as the saviours of guitar music and invited to join the NME radar tour. But because it's a bunch of old guys on their 13th album it'll probably do little more than consolidate their status as the cult band to name drop when you want to impress your less cool friends.