An absolute little masterpiece this one. Both versions have their merits - the brilliant guitar line more brutal and therefore better on the Seminal Live version, where there's even a bit of wah wah! Meanwhile, the Peel version is better produced, more bombastic and has added verse. The batty lyrics seem to involve some kind of ambush, either physical or mental, by some kids influenced by the then popular hip Channel 4 'yoof' programme, 'Network 7' which encouraged all kinds of naff pretensions in some of the country's yuppified teenagers. 'Give me back the pride of my class,' rails MES, 'This scum are just a morass.'
posted @ 13.05 PM, March 28, 2007
Guide Me Soft
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Not the most charismatic of choons. Wake me up when it's over.
posted @ 14.30 PM, March 27, 2007
Overture from I Am Kurious Oranj
Very un-Fall like slick production with chiming guitars - more like an archetypal eighties guitar sound. It's basically just an instrumental written by Brix with her shouting out other Fall song titles and snippets over it. Kuriously, it was never actually used in the ballet itself.
posted @ 12.55 PM, March 26, 2007
Another one of those neglected 'haven't heard this for ages and now it sounds superb' songs. From the brooding opening bass note, opening out to sweeping guitars with a great chord sequence. Fascinating explanation of it from the man himself: "I heard ... about the theory that William of Orange brought VD to England. Ridiculous of course, probably originating from mad Catholics, but it inspired me to write a song about the question where AIDS originates from. There are several theories. For the tune I wanted an Amsterdammish melody, a dock melody." The live Pure version also features MES laughing. Always a treat.
posted @ 13.25 PM, March 23, 2007
Dead Beat Descendant
Huzzah! - a Fall dance. Everybody do the dead beat descendant etc. etc. Great nonsense lyrics for how to do the moves: 'Take five dead beat steps/Do a stroll/Act like you just got out of jail.' Another one of those always thrilling twangy rockabillyesque guitar line based songs. Most of the live versions feature a stirring MES moment when he decides to sing 'Descendant' in that high pitched way. And, as so often, the Peel version is stunning.
posted @ 13.15 PM, March 22, 2007
Bad News Girl
Apparently about the cracks in the Smiths' relationship and thus not one of Brix's favourites to play live. No wonder, with lines such as 'Jaded lust and tiresomeness/Are not what I want to look at.' Starts off like one of those stoned Stooges songs - with MES drawling Iggy style over slow moving guitar and nice xylophonic/glockenspellic sounds before half-heartedly launching into some throwaway pop with disdainful delivery. You get the feeling that producer Ian Broudie tried to mould the second section into a more energetic bouncy affair but gave up on the idea.
posted @ 14.25 PM, March 21, 2007
Acid Priest 2088
AKA Win Fall CD 2080 or CD Win Fall 2088AD, depending on which way the wind's blowing. Another mess about with Hip Priest with added funk, taped chants and pleasant keyboard wanderings. Amusing divertisement.
posted @ 13.05 PM, March 20, 2007
Wrong Place, Right Time
Simple stomper whereby the melody follows the bass line and main riff all the way through. Initially part of the whole Oranj thing, hence the William references, although, of course, plenty of tangents too, as in 'I keep on knocking but there's no bugger in/I have to sing gothic, boo hoo.' Amazingly, resurrected in recent years. The bit where it segues into 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow' on the Peel session is great. And, indeed, I saw them perform it live, last week. Bloody good it was too.
posted @ 13.25 PM, March 19, 2007
Big New Prinz
Great fun - Hip Priest reduced to the bare lyrical variations on 'check the guy's track record' and 'drink the long draught' and glitterized with jumping drums, handclaps and singing, chiming guitars. I defy you to sit still during this one. It just bounces. I'm off to see the real deal tonight - The Fall at the Liquid Room, Edinburgh. Yaroo. Naturally, I'll need a week to get over this, so I'll be back next Monday.
posted @ 13.20 PM, March 12, 2007
The quasi-reggaefied guitar chops, 'brrrrpa bapababa ba ba ba ba ba' bits and hunting horn sounding trumpets combine into an incredible mixture of yet another Fall song that sounds like no other Fall song. The suggestion here seems to be that the 'Stuyvestant smoking' King Billy of 'Glorious Revolution' Protestant hero worship fame and his wife Mary II 'paved the way for atom bomb' and 'made Hitler laugh in pain,' indicating their reign was of huge historical import, the foundation of the modern state, and all that. I just think it's great the way he rhymes 'deranged' with orange. Genius. Don't forget, this was also the catalyst for the great Stewart Lee's 'Curious Orange' skits on telly.
posted @ 14.20 PM, March 9, 2007
William Blake would have been proud of it, I'm sure. The veering off into the tale of compo scroungers is hilarious: 'I was walking down the street/When I tripped up on a discarded banana skin/And on my way down I caught the side of my head/On a protruding brick chip/It was the government's fault. It was the fault of the government.' Also very funny on people who whinge about the Budget. 'I was very let down by the Budget/I was expecting a one million quid handout.' The 8 minute LA version is good, but the Pure As Oranj version is the blistering best. It was also packaged (with Big New Prinz and Wrong Place Right Time No 2)as the first ever double 3" single.
posted @ 13.10 PM, March 8, 2007
Dog is Life
'You don't see rabbits being walked down the street.' Indeed. The opening ravings from I Am Kurious Oranj. Oh, how, I wish I'd seen this performed at the Edinburgh Festival. It looks such a hoot. The full speech is on 'I Am As Pure As Oranj.' The 'I Am Kurious Oranj' version which segues into 'Jerusalem' has a small portion edited from the doggerel (d'you see what I did there?).
posted @ 13.15 PM, March 7, 2007
A Day In The Life
From the NME record, 'Sgt Pepper Knew My Father' where a bunch of groups covered the Beatles album for charity. Pretty faithful to the original except for a few minor lyric alterations, i.e. "grabbed my stash" instead of "grabbed my coat" and "nobody spoke cos I went into a dream." Also, after extensive scientific research (reversing the ending in Cool Edit), I can confirm that the outro loop at the end of this song is identical to that of the sample that ends The Beatles version...only played backwards.
posted @ 13.00 PM, March 6, 2007
Yes O Yes
Another of those 'sounds like the theme tune for a 60s spy series' jobs. As it's from 'Oranj', religous overtones abound, including a play on the John West advert, 'The god you reject/Makes ours the best.' The Pure As Oranj recording made at the Edinburgh Festival includes an extended gloomy diatribe 'from the corrective school of soccer coaching as done by M. Clark,' and a more prominent bass which sounds even better on the Vienna version.
posted @ 14.10 PM, March 5, 2007
Cab It Up!
A part of the whole Kurious Oranj phenomenon, the ballet put together by Michael Clarke featuring mad dancing, Fall tunes, people dressed as hamburgers and bare arses. Hence the shout of 'Michael, Michael' on the Oranj version as opposed to 'habitual, actual' on the Peel version. It's a motoring Fall classic and the best example ever of a xylophone accompanied rockabilly beat. Video: Cab It Up
posted @ 13.10 PM, March 2, 2007
Aka Last Nacht, Bremen Nacht Alternative, Bremen Nacht Run Out and kind-of named after the city's nightlife publication, Bremer Nacht. One hell of a killer pummeling riff that just won't let go in this strange tale where MES gets to throw in lots of german, as is his wont on occasions. According to Simon Ford's Hip Priest book, whilst touring Bremen, Smith was visited by a ghost of a tortured child during the night, leaving bruises shaped like a child's handprint on his legs.
posted @ 14.25 PM, March 1, 2007
Oswald Defence Lawyer
Hanging itself around the claims and counter claims in the JFK assassination trials and retrials, whilst invoking two giants of American literature, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, thus emphasising the often bizarre accounts of the alleged projectory of Lee Harvey Oswald's bullet. What other group in the world would ever have a catchy chorus which runs thus: 'Oswald Defense Lawyer/
Embraces the scruffed corpse of Mark Twain.'
posted @ 14.10 PM, February 28, 2007
The Steak Place
Very basic song about some rough eaterie with tacky furnishings frequented by hitmen and lawyers apparently. Stripped right down to finger clicking, acoustic guitar strumming the simplest of chord changes and bass. It doesn't really go anywhere and you just keep willing the drums to come in. So that's a bit frustrating. The 'head down' bits are good, though. And is that himself wailing 'Bad song' at the end?
posted @ 14.30 PM, February 27, 2007
In These Times
'This song's a belter.' The doomy bass intro quickly contrasts with the bouncy voices and brassy synth (even brassier on the live version) in this poptastic overview of the chaotic 'trash' surrounding the way we were/are/always will be. Much nonsense ensues amidst the dreamscapes and and visions flowing through MES's 'Spectral Filter', including 'My Aqua-cat is where it's at and new to mammal range.' There's also a veiled reference to the Hungerford massacre when Michael Ryan went on a shooting spree.
posted @ 13.00 PM, February 26, 2007
Get A Hotel
Gentle little groove going on here which kind of reflects the dreamy reflective nature of the narrative which appears to be concerned with the passage of time and what to do with it before it all runs out. Purchasing a hotel being one of those nice solid investment for the future type scenarios often muted by couples thinking of a comfortable retirement with an old B&B in the country. Sounds nightmarish to me, as, indeed it does here, given that MES twist with diverse imagery of blood-curdlers, bike sirens and dirt inhaled.
posted @ 13.10 PM, February 23, 2007
Carry Bag Man
An unnsettling drill-like noise introduces us to the chant of the Carry Bag Man, whose nefarious activities with the said items we can only guess at. Needless to say, 'No cash is earned straight nowadays anyways' and 'There's few good places to hide bags behind.' Crikey. Musically, this is one of those reassuringly no nonsense Fall minimalist grooves with repetitioning and singalong refrain. Not to mention a quick megaphonic blast. There's also some spirited Wah Wahing going on in Vienna.
Video: Carry Bag Man
posted @ 11.35 AM, February 22, 2007
Totally addictive. The slovenly duh duh duhs as a recurring motif and the simple guitar line with last note crucially bendy are the main driving force behind this one. Simplest of lyrical refrains - 'My friends don't amount to one hand' and variants thereof. The interesting percussion fills and flute like guitar/keyboard treatments on the album version don't appear on the longer alternative studio version on Seminal Live.
posted @ 12.55 PM, February 21, 2007
Tuff Life Boogie
Short and very sweet, the slouching bored guitar intro is matched by the drole delivery soaked in ennui which magically slurs into a jumpy killer chorus as MES revels in some tired old clichés. One of the best of these is 'a pernicious refrain' of 'Give it to me baby one more time.'
posted @ 13.25 PM, February 20, 2007
The Fall in hit single shock. This fairly faithful cover of the Kinks song reached a heady 35 in the top 40, with its air punching singalong chorus guaranteed to prick up the ears of any discerning pop picker. If you listen carefully, you can pick out the Norman Collier-esque 'Land of Hope and Glory/ Land of Happy Tory' near the end.
posted @ 13.00 PM, February 19, 2007