Age of Chang
Good old tinny radio intro maintained throughout. When the bass and drum kick in, it motors on regardless. Another anti-nostalgia song. 'No time for reminiscences...This is time for change.' Reminds me of 'Soldier' era Iggy, especially with the backing chorus. And so it ends, not with a sinister bang, like on 'Your Future...,' but with the more jokey 'A dam of vast proportions will break over Hawksmoor.' As I said, give it time and I may come to love this album. At the moment it's cruising on middling.
Age of Chang (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 14.15 PM, Dec 9, 2011
I've Seen Them Come
Falling about on a drumkit start. Single guitar pattern before inevitable onslaught. The expectation of development is frustrating, but could prove to be addictive in time if only the playing wasn't so undemanding. Band members sing competently before MES barges in listing places he's been to and making rhythmical word noises. Again, subtle keyboard floating around in the background is the best bit. Beligerently outstays its welcome.
I've Seen Them Come (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 12.55 PM, Dec 6, 2011
A pleasant enough riff. Pleasant? That won't do. I like the title though. Probably the keyboard's best on this because it tends to waver from the dull guitar plod, although the little bit of wah wah adds some relief. Hardly a searing indictment of technology, more a casual moan about someone losing their laptop and how over dependant some have become on them. The words are a bit of a let down too, and contrary to MES advice I'll have to 'underrate' what he says, apart from 'No luck has he/Keith Richards follows him.'
Laptop Dog (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 13.15 PM, Dec 5, 2011
Ah - the token epic track with delusions of grandeur. Forgive the cynicism, but 2 minutes of dull prog rock intro? I remember when MES would mock this sort of thing. After last year's tour de force 'Your Future Our Clutter' I am becoming increasingly disappointed with 'Ersatz GB.' Amazingly, it's not even my favourite album of this year. This NEVER happens usually. This probably means it'll end up being my favourite Fall LP of all time. But I doubt it. But back to the track in question. It's about a heart drug and about seven minutes too long. MES sounds like Gollum by the end. Fall Crimson.
Monocard (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 13.30 PM, Dec 1, 2011
Trippy Elena vehicle which gradually burrows its way into your head after several listens. One of those apparently simplistic melodies that on initial hearing seem insignificant, but all the extra layers as it builds really makes it a stand out track. The only MES contribution here is a muffled background megaphonic type vocal at certain points which also adds an extra audial thrill.
Happi Song (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 12.55 PM, Nov 29, 2011
Hilarious narrative song with a simplistic piano stabbing intro leading onto pure thrash in a riff taken from Greek heavy metal band, Anorimoi. According to guitarist Peter Greenway, the song is not about him, but about Smith's perception of what he should be like. The "snotty and offensive" group are most probably These New Puritans, who were explicitly mentioned by Smith during live performances of the song, but the most surprising lyric is, 'I had to wank off the cat to feed the fucking dog.' O.K.
Greenway (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 14.40 PM, Nov 28, 2011
This is probably my favourite on Ersatz GB at the moment. Of course this could always, and will, change. Token rockabilly vibe track and nice touch when MES enters with what sounds like a tape machine being switched on while he's chewing toffees. There's a wonderful Tarzan style vocal mangling at one point which is a standout, along with the comical b(a)iting lyrics:'I'm so sick of Snow Patrol and where to find Esso lubricant...'
Mask Search (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 14.55 PM, Nov 25, 2011
Nate Will Not Return
'Out of the fog - connection.' Indeed. When the fog clears amid the throat clearances and growlings, a series of hilariously trite rhymes of Nate take charge. My favorites are 'I might visit the gallery known as Tate' and 'Is it too late to cover the song by The Fall called Hot Cake?' I should say it's great, but it's pretty second rate. Next!
Nate Will Not Return (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 09.50 AM, Nov 23, 2011
This is kind of understated, with guitars sweeping between speakers and keyboards lightly dabbled. Definitely a grower. There's a lot of subtle layers in there and some not so subtle shouting. You could say they compliment each other. Oh, I just did. Lyrically enigmatic as per, no obvious narrative thread, as per, and lots of baffling phrases, as per. It could be about taking off layers/masks etc. It certainly namechecks 'Bonjela.'
Taking Off (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 08.55 AM, Nov 22, 2011
Cracking steamrolling pace to start the album and nice simplistic keyboarding. The guitar figure harks back to Imperial Wax Solvent style. Growling MES on top form, even durrrrring again and providing his own backing vocals. The usual plethora of non-sequitors and baffling mythical references abound. It's alright.
Cosmos 7 (Ersatz GB, 2011)
posted @ 10.50 AM, Nov 18, 2011
Werewolves Of London
Here's an oddity. A cover of the Warren Zevon number performed as the opener at a gig in Leeds on this year's tour. The rather hesitant and plodding beginning soon flowers out to a fun filled rendition complete with several attempted 'a - wooooos' from Smith himself. Hugely enjoyable in a completely unexpected way.
Werewolves Of London (live, Leeds, 2011)
posted @ 11.00 AM, Nov 17, 2011