This is more like it. Does exactly what it says in the title. Creaking, spooky beginning leading into what is indeed a waltz, played over a warped carnival vibe with a dislocated voice wearily repeating the mantra, 'He must come down.' Psychedelic, maaaaan. Great end of album track.
Sinister Waltz (Shift Work, 1991)
posted @ 13.30 PM, June 14, 2007
Another curiously flat gentle song with MES in reflective mode. 'Hear that wah-wah going?' It was indeed 'all the rage/With the younger set' at the time. The guitar echoes the Flat of Angles/His Latest Flame riff hovering alongside a flute sound which sounds distinctly easy listening. Unnerving.
Rose (Shift Work, 1991)
posted @ 12.55 PM, June 13, 2007
You Haven't Found It Yet
"Where are you going? This work has not yet reached cessation." Good Fall motto there. Another fairly conventional musical arrangement, of which there are quite a few on 'Shift Work' - one of their more mainstream albums shall we say. Quite a few stifled laughs in this one too, giving it a laid back feeling. A lot of repetition of the title, London references and the good old megaphone. According to Slang King on the unofficial Fall site, an early instrumental version was performed as an intro to their Reading Festival appearance in August 1990.
You Haven't Found It Yet (Shift Work, 1991)
posted @ 14.25 PM, June 12, 2007
A brooding bass heavy exploration of the often disorientating effects of working shifts and its effect on personal relationships. Starts with what sounds like bees (workers?) at the beginning and hammers on relentlessly. Many fine moments, but a masterstroke I especially like is the violin echoing the 'now now now...' bits. Of course, a lot of these intricacies are lost on the more guitar oriented live version although MES doing the high pitched 'Shift Work' backing vocals is a treat.
Shift Work (Shift Work, 1991)
Shift Work (live, Germany, 1992?)
posted @ 13.10 PM, June 11, 2007
The Book of Lies
Doesn't sound like The Fall at all. Which doesn't mean anything of course. An organ based walkthrough. Sort of dull pop by numbers. Very conservative tune and pedestrian lyrics. I still like it though, wierdly - god knows why, I can't think of a decent thing to say about it. Maybe it's the very disinterestedness of it all.
The Book of Lies (Shift Work, 1991)
posted @ 13.55 PM, June 07, 2007
Oh so quiet MES a capella (pfft) at the beginning which fades in and merges with the sliding guitar noise and builds to a very pleasing travelling ditty. Probably the only 'on the road' song to give Skegness a namecheck, unless of course you know different. If you or someone you know has been affected by Skeggy rock songs do let me know. Those hideous car signs get a well deserved snidey comment - 'Mother-to-be on board' - and there's some great long note holding, especially at the 'They don't ask your telephone...' bit. The 'FDA regulation state' backing refrain by Cassell Webb is also tops.
Pittsville Direkt (Shift Work, 1991)
Pittsville Direkt (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 14.30 PM, June 06, 2007
Incredibly, it's a straight ahead rock/pop song reminiscing about Edinburgh - probably the finest city in the world, but then I would say that. MES lived here for a few months in the early nineties and, judging by this song, fell in love with the place and its hostelries offering generous quarter gills of whisky. No hint of sarcasm in the delivery and only a slight swipe at the Festival, when Edinburgh's population doubles with an influx of luvvies. The Foul's version which I performed live in the surreal surrondings of a cinema house bar a couple of months back, includes a nod to Brian Eno's 'Cindy Tells Me.'
Edinburgh Man (Shift Work, 1991)
Edinburgh Man (live, Nottingham, 1992)
Cindy Tells Edinburgh Man (by The Foul, 2006)
posted @ 13.25 PM, June 05, 2007
So What About It?
'Fall advice!' is the opening salvo. Mentioning the gruppe's name is always a good way to start an album, carrying on the tradition of opening their live set with, 'Good evening, we are The Fall.' The vocal melody is virtually the same as The Mixer. I use melody in its loosest possible sense, obviously. The many remixes, ubiquitous on the muzak scene at the time (zzzzzz), were released as a promo 12". The original, which is by far the best and should be enough for anyone, was supposedly recorded on a 4 track - hence its superiority to the electro masturbation of the others.
Video: So What About It?
So What About It? (Shift Work, 1991)
So What About It? (remix 1, 1991)
So What About It? (remix 2, 1991)
So What About It? (remix 3, 1991)
posted @ 13.25 PM, June 04, 2007
A paean to technology and equipment obsessed DJs and engineers. They're even to be found in Spanish restaurants it seems. 'And I am glad/He earned my salary.' Swish electronica and violin plus castanets! It's a haunting sticky tune with a mournfulesque vocal delivery. An alternative version - The Re-Mixer - was on the B side of Why Are People Grudgeful? and was a promotional single for The Infotainment Scan.
Video: The Mixer
The Mixer (Peel session, 1991)
The Mixer (Shift Work, 1991)
posted @ 13.35 PM, June 01, 2007
A Lot Of Wind
Another pop at TV presenters. A one note classic. I love this to bits - that slightly discordant guitar and violin, rumbling bass, incredibly basic beat and even some pathetic whistling. Very funny lyrics too - 'Then they have Carl Lewis on/He's got a ponytail and he's a vegan.' 'There's a roly roly, roly-poly man/He's got a yak haircut (dick, dick, dick).' The pause between 'kids' and 'programmes' is another highlight. The version on Sinister Waltz contains the line, 'He's the king of Granadaland' removed from the album version, possibly because the roly poly presenter and carpet salesman was easily identifiable from this more precise description.
Video: A Lot Of Wind
A Lot Of Wind (Peel session, 1991)
A Lot Of Wind (Shift Work, 1991)
A Lot Of Wind (Sinister Waltz, 1996)
posted @ 13.35 PM, May 31, 2007
Idiot Joy Showland
In which MES hits back at the Madchester scene. "It's like a cycle you see every two or three years. I don't think those bands are bad, it's just it seems to get worse. It's like people are happy now to see any fucker who plays a guitar. It's also about the area, Manchester...The whole thing there is just like easy buzz... Aerobatics on stage, dancing, throwing your body about. Which is good, but it's not good. It's stimulus. It's BSB ... It's Sky as music...People think it's a clever combination of dance and rock. I don't think it particularly is." (from NME interview). So, no messing there, then. The first verse sums it up nicely: "Idiot groups with no shape or form/Out of their heads on a quid of blow/The shapeless kecks flapping up a storm/Look at what they are: a pack of worms." Plenty of vitriol on view about the shafting of the working class and humour too with the Freddie And The Dreamers comparison and this wee gem: "Hey little singer, come on up/Show us your house/And show us your cock." The bass is brilliant too.
Idiot Joy Showland (Peel session, 1991)
Idiot Joy Showland (Shift Work, 1991)
Idiot Joy Showland (live, Nottingham, 1992)
Idiot Walkout (live, 27 Points, 1995)
posted @ 13.10 PM, May 30, 2007
The War Against Intelligence
'Notebooks out plagiarists' - Alongside Kenny Brady's violin scrapings lurks the son of a preacher man and some memorable singalong backing vocals from Cassell Webb. From an NME interview of the time MES pinponts the ways our modern minds are being outflanked: 'Intelligence is actively discouraged in all walks of life, the media and all of it... You talk to somebody, a bricklayer for instance. They're simply told to build badly, as opposed to making a fucking proper job out of it. And the blokes that they tell these things to either have to do it or they're out of work. Same with groups, same with everything... Sometimes for weeks on end I just watch telly, and after a bit you go "What the fuck am I doing here?" Everybody does it.' I always imagine the line, 'you think your haircut is distinguished/but it's a blot on the English landscape' being aimed at Melvyn Bragg.
The War Against Intelligence (Peel session, 1991)
The War Against Intelligence (Shift Work, 1991)
The War Against Intelligence (live, Nottingham, 1992)
posted @ 14.35 PM, May 29, 2007