The Velvet Underground of the seventies,Wire has sometimes been called: for those "What Goes On" fans who finally worship punk most for the dynamic capacities of its outwardly ugly, secretly beautiful sound, English punk produced no finer document than the band's debut, Pink Flag. Art schoolers to the bone, the quartet turned punk rage into one of the fine arts--even garage purists would have a hard time denying these melodies and AC/DC-caliber power chords, played at a Ramones tempo with an Eno/Roxy Music coating over the guitars. Singer Colin Newman is able to be achingly tuneful and still convey Johnny Rotten contempt. Crazed but clean, DIY with nothing out of place, Wire was an aesthete's dream of the incendiary. Much of the charm of Pink Flag comes from the enormous scope it manages to achieve within punk's procrustean bed of guitar rushes and half-tunes. Newman, bassist Graham Lewis, guitarist Bruce Gilbert, and drummer Robert Gotobed effortessly shift between one-chord ravers ("12XU" the legend; "Field Day for the Sundays" a precedent-setting 28 seconds, including a false end!), dandy dalliances ("Lowdown", "Feeling Called Love"), set pieces about war and violence ("Reuters", "Pink Flag"), and overwlming power pop like "Ex Lion Tamer" and "Mannequin". Only about five of the twenty-one cuts are less than essential to an album that races by into immortality.