The graffiti you left on me means every part is still bleeding
Alongside Antarctic, The Soulmates is the other Japanese Lifeblood bonus track that never saw an official release in the west. Like with Antarctic, this is a great shame because it’s a great song. It’s even a greater shame because it’s a downright brilliant song.
The Soulmates is one of the more guitar-heavy Lifeblood era songs but unlike Voodoo Polaroids or Quarantine, The Soulmates isn’t a heavy-riffing dirty rock and roll piece. Instead, it takes its cue from the same elegiac, sweet melancholy tone of the majority of the era but instead of keyboards to carry the main melodies, it’s James’ aching, storming guitar. The keyboards do pop up in the chorus in a splendid way – a fantastic little organ – but despite their existence on the track they never take the central stage.
That breaking, electrified guitar tone and the general band feeling of the song support its bittersweet melancholy mood with a great humane touch. The music carries the lyrics fantastically: while structurally one of the band’s simplest, they come across as one of Wire’s most touching ones. The minimal optimism of the verses about the unbreaking bonds of the said soulmates is subtly turned into something much sadder and even nostalgic in the chorus – the other soulmate is gone. No souveniers, nothing left behind of him; no symphonies, no grand farewell parties or emotional breakdowns afterwards; no dead feelings, the feelings the two had still remain strongly however.
Cue your Richey theorisation here.
Truly sad this never saw a ‘proper’ light of day, we can only hope there’ll be a Lipstick Traces 2 or something that fixes the problem. Amazing song.