My bedroom wall recalls what’s in my head
Know Your Enemy’s sprawling centerpiece epic, as mad and frantic as the album surrounding it is schizophrenic and seemingly without any direction. The Convalescent is a six-minute storming right into Nicky Wire’s head. The gigantic, nearly endless armada of stream-of-consciousness lyrics and words are spat out by James in a relentless pace; it’s probably the largest mouthful of lyrics Nicky’s ever committed to one single song and the ridiculous namedropping and moving from one point to another bears very little directional sense, only unified by an overaching theme of what goes on in Wire’s private life. Musically the band engages into a gritty high speed rocker from the very beginning – there’s barely any intro, just barely a second of noise before the song crashes into existence – which is punctuated by the occasional, relatively long calm spots (surprisingly including the chorus). And when the lyrics finally disappear, James isn’t content in giving his vocal cords a rest – the long outro, constantly growing in madness, ends up being a multilayered parade of James’ yelps and oohs.
The Convalescent, much unlike its name, knows no rest. It just goes and goes and goes in a manic frenzy. It’s the epitome of Know Your Enemy’s gritty side, distorted organs howling while crappily recorded vocals and rambling guitars break the airspace. In fact, like I mentioned above, it could be called the whole album’s centerpiece – everything that was played before climaxes into it, afterwards which begins the slow descent in pace and atmosphere.
God knows why it never made a live outing, it would have been an absolutely mad king of the concert field with its fierce energy.