Okay so, a bit late to this party, but this is too pretty not to spread the word about. This track appeared on Fire to the Stars Keep You Safe EP back in 2014, and was then included on the band’s 2016 Made of Fire album, so it’s been lurking around for a bit…but we digress. All that needs to be said is that it’s a beauty, somehow managing to be both funereal and pop, starting as a slow dirge dressed in black, with a keening vocal, then suddenly turning the corner onto a sunlit street, courtesy of a beautiful guitar led hook. And while it brings to mind both Patti Smith, and Marianne Faithfull in parts , the glorious spectre of Stevie Nicks hangs over the whole thing, like the dark, dancing around the fire Stevie, the one that consumes all of us earthly beings during the last minute of “Gold Dust Woman”.
Thinking about the construction of “Wholesale Slaughter” led me on a typically geeky tangent. Specifically, I began contemplating the ascent of the 1982 song “Ghosts” by Japan. It was a morose, skeletal dirge that was about as far from a pop song as you could get, yet somehow, beyond all reason or logic, it managed to reach the top 5 in the UK charts that year ( have a listen below, and you’ll see what I mean).
Japan, starring singer/ songwriter, and still legend David Sylvian, were the thinking fangirl’s band of choice back then, but still, would it even be possible for pop this dark, weirdand slippery to rise to those kind of heights again ? Hmmm, I wonder. I’m thinking our collective lack of patience, introspection and empathy makes it pretty unlikely that an oddball like “Ghosts” will ever be a “hit” at that scale again ( though I remain hopeful because hey, you gotta). Still, love the idea that it was so mega and it remains a properly lovely weirdo tune.