This purgatory for beginners
I originally wanted to mainly talk about how lovely the sound is in this one: a very rich, orchestral and harmonic prettiness covers the whole track that never sounds fierce or rocking despite its rather aggressive backbeat. But then I decided to check upon the lyrics while deciding which part of them would go well as a lyric quote and I was hit by a revelation that I’ve never really come about thinking while listening to the song. James’ unclear falsetto vocals during the verses cover it up pretty well – just what the hell is going on lyrically in this song?
It’s like Nicky trying to imitate Richey. For one moment you’ve got perfectly clear existential angst that Wire specialises in, the next you hit completely random sounding lines like “clandestine brain finished period” and “yellow moral unclean decay”. While I’m sure in the big sense of things it does all tie down back into the whole existential depression thing, reading through the lyrics just leaves you baffled. Not just because of the meaning but the utterly random stylistic structure it’s got. Like I said, in a lot of places it’s like Nicky’s trying to imitate Richey’s style now that he’s gone.
What you can get out of the lyrics though is a slightly sinister mood that they’ve got. Which plays along rather well to the orchestral bliss, flute and all, that the rest of the track has.