[B79] ‘Dead Trees and Traffic Islands’

Released on: A Design For Life (Single #17) Epic Records, 15 April 1996
Peak UK Chart Position: #2
Band Ranking: #2

The final B-side on the A Design For Life single is the insistently rocking ‘Dead Trees and Traffic Islands’ which has been observed to have something of Edwards’ lyrical style about its lyrics, even though they were written by Wire. The overall feeling of the song is of a work which contains a number of interesting lines, but which – like a number of earlier tracks – never quite coalesces into anything entirely coherent as a whole. If there is an overall theme, it could well be something to do with finding oneself beaten down and rendered helpless by one’s own thoughts – or as the first line puts it, “paralysis through analysis”.

Although the appearance of flute in [B78] ‘Dead Passive’ was rare, the next also rare appearance is actually on this, the very next released song. Another of the most interesting lyrical aspects of the track is Bradfield’s inclusion of wordless “sha na na” vocals, which while another rarity in the grand scheme of things, became slightly more prominent during the EMG period. The way these vocals appear in an echoing, a capella form and take the role of the song’s outro is possibly the strongest moment of the whole piece. Very clever.

Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“I show little defence / I show little defence”


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