Theme From Error Orror!
Initially from a Manchester bands compilation called 'Home.' A rumbling percussion heavy affair with, surprisingly, enigmatic lyrics about Izzy, Bizzy, Shakespeare, free morons - you name it. If I had the time, I'm sure I could provide an in-depth analysis. Amid the admittedly powerful drums n bass backbone, there's a nice wee guitar solo bit by Martin Bramah (credited here under alternative name M Beddington) and a natural laugh at the end as Bramah plays a bum note.
posted @ 13.30 PM, May 24, 2007
Don't Take The Pizza
A punning title for a jumping little number based around the bass line with some reverberating guitar stabs and a skipping beat. Shame it's hidden away as a B side, but then so many great Fall tunes are. Finding them's half the fun. Word fragments and playfulness predominate, such as 'QED is quid each day' and 'You dopey randy acid clone.' But the 'dontikka, dontikka' bits are definitely a stand out.
posted @ 12.50 PM, May 23, 2007
Xmas With Simon (aka Christmastide)
Probably my favourite Christmas song...ever. Simon being drummer Simon Wolstencraft, here on cheesy keyboards. 'It is a cynical song. Atrocious lyrics!' admitted MES. 'I find extreme sarcasm very funny indeed.' You don't say. 'I must admit I don't like Christmas in England because everywhere closes down for three weeks. It's disgusting. You can't get any bread or milk and that's what the song's about. Christmas is more of a family time... where families can beat each other up.' The hilarious phrasing on this cracks me up - the way he says, 'Jesus did' and 'Big old nice old house' Speaking of Jesus, he 'Died at the age of 33/Which is as good a time as any.'
posted @ 14.30 PM, May 22, 2007
High Tension Line
Fades into another uber infectious Fall guitar riff and features a punchy chorus line chant reflecting minimalist composer La Monte Young's "The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer", which, as noted in Simon Ford's book, Hip Priest, is a piece of music that supposedly has no start or end. As for subject matter, here's MES himself with sarcasometer turned up full from a Sounds interview of the time: 'Records should reflect what people think at the time and it's tense in England at the moment. Everyone's worried about their mortgages and stuff. You know me, I'm a man of the suburbs.' Video here: High Tension Line
posted @ 13.15 PM, May 21, 2007
The Funeral Mix
Well, if it isn't the last movement of Zagreb (see below) revisited and extended. This lumpen keyboard and syndrums instrumental is as dreary as its title suggests. So, for a little light relief, I did a quick alternative mix with Ken Nordine's 'Flesh.'
posted @ 13.00 PM, May 18, 2007
Life Just Bounces
Fucking fantastic. It really does bounce - starting like a cross between a Motown track and a warped 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' then metamorphosising into a great simplistic up and down the scale guitar line. Plenty of word weirdness, non-sequitors, and self-referentials, including a hark back to the story of J. Temperance: 'On TV today somebody claimed their dog/Had been molested by a textile chemist.' Sounds a bit like Lou Reed in his phrasing of 'at all.' The live version is hilarious with a Vic Reeves pub singer type voice mumbling inanities and an American impersonation ending with 'Ain't no refund!'
posted @ 12.55 PM, May 17, 2007
Blood Outta Stone
What's all this? Sounds like a conventional 'rock' song. Bloody good one, though. There's some definite glossy production values going on here along with deliberate clichés: 'Getting stuff outta you is like blood outta stone' and 'You're mutton dressed as lamb.' Fortunately, this slice of normality proves to be a blip.
posted @ 14.10 PM, May 16, 2007
Straight ahead adrenalin rock n roll cover, still performed live to this day. One of the best drinking songs ever. Covered by many many artists, but the original was by country singer George Jones in 1959. The video, featuring lots of bike action, can be found here: White Lightning
posted @ 13.15 PM, May 15, 2007
Zagreb (Movements I, II & III)
Movements, eh? How grand. Starts off like it's going to break into Stevie Wonder's 'Higher Ground' then along come the drums and guitars to throw you off, like. Glossy production accompanied by atmospheric imagery in the word stuff, e.g. 'Open-plan graves/Blown-over trees/Muted mystics impasse/Glittering beach.'
posted @ 13.10 PM, May 14, 2007
A gentle thud to start with, plus xylophone, leading into a repetitive riff with accompanying tinkles which builds gradually, while the simplest of melodies plays out against it. Like all "simple" Fall tunes, it works its way subtly into your psyche until you realise this slight song actually packs more punch than you'd initially given it credit for. Lyrically quite amusing, with the colloquial ('just pack it in') rubbing shoulders with the absurd ('Hello Zandra/From the planet Redundra').
posted @ 14.05 PM, May 2, 2007
Hisses and bloops and some bland guitar twiddling again (see Arms Control Poseur). Mostly a plodding affair with lots of la la la's and the occasional shout of, wait for it, 'Extricate!' Probably the best bit is the rat a tat pronouncing of 'Now and then you gotta.' Even the scream seems half hearted.
posted @ 11.25 AM, April 26, 2007
Black Monk Theme II
The Fall in frivolous mode. A jokey wee ditty utilising the original Black Monk Theme's 'you you you...' bits alongside lots of 'yeah's and the like, accompanied by toytown guitar and some neato rapid handclap samples. What larks, eh? Good excuse to include a 'key change' though.
posted @ 13.00 PM, April 25, 2007
Arms Control Poseur
Very 1977 type title, but not the music. Starts with some mouth organ wheezes, guitar histrionics, the 'death of a sense of humour' and the 'death of sense.' How, indeed, 'do you recover from this?' Well, you don't. The overblown guitar twiddlings shriek unremittingly throughout, testing your ability to withstand such endless solos tripped out so automatically from countless 'rock' bands. Luckily the drums and electronics distract from it, especially the 'a-a-a-arms control' delay thing. Plus, it contains another of those English language mangling lines which are so inexplicably entertaining: 'I quite very very much enjoyed/His jovial lies.' And another sneery modern life observational snippet: 'Get me a nice wooly polo neck/With a red cardigan/From Next/Ideal summer wear!'
posted @ 13.00 PM, April 24, 2007
My god, but that's one helluva catchy intro. A masterclass in straight ahead rockabilly with pop sensibilities. It's not often you'll hear The Fall described as toe-tapping, but on this little slice of bop my feet can't help but bounce. Of course, it's not all lightness and froth as the lyrics testify: 'He turned the water into wine/And he insisted that we eat swine...'
posted @ 13.00 PM, April 23, 2007
The Littlest Rebel
Surely one of the best guitar riffs...ever! A sort of antidote to Bowie's 'Rebel Rebel.' Everything about this track just fits perfectly - the mouth organ, the kitchsy keyboards, the kitschier cries of 'Rebel!' and the slurred, adlibbed 'wastrel.' With some exquisite rhymes for rebel, notably, 'Hips like Shirley Temple.' But my favourite line has to be, 'are those cars?/Are those shoes?' Deep joy.
posted @ 13.25 PM, April 20, 2007
Popcorn Double Feature
Cover of a Searchers song, no less. I've no idea what the original sounds like, but this is a bouncy affair, heavy on the strings, with some uncanny Lou Reed vocal mannerisms, especially the 'Don't nobody care at all?' line.
posted @ 12.50 PM, April 19, 2007
Bill Is Dead
The last thing you expect from The Fall is a mellow and introspective ballad, but then you should expect the last thing you expect from The Fall... While hardly a formulaic reflective pop song, it does appear to be as accessible a tune as any they've done, and damn good it is too. He sounds like he really means it when he croons, 'These are the greatest times of my life.' It reached number 1 in John Peel's Festive Fifty in 1990, the only Fall song to do so until Theme From Sparta F.C. in 2004. I'd love to know who Bill was, though.
posted @ 13.05 PM, April 18, 2007
Fuzz guitar and flute noises outline this basic tune which starts with 'I've got a lot to say' then proceeds to endlessly repeat the phrase 'Gimme gimme gimme it slowly baby.' So it goes. The speeded up chipmunk quote at the end seemingly originates from the band's performance on BBC2 in January 1990: 'That was Craig's tribute to Frank Zappa. Now we can all laugh about this, but that was his attempt to be Frank therefore I've entitled it "I'm Frank".' The pic is from a U.S. promo cover.
Video: I'm Frank
posted @ 12.05 PM, April 17, 2007
n.Classical Mythology. a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman's head and a bird's body.[syn: vixen]. Make of that what you will. Some suitably shrieking strings introduce this interesting tale of a young lass whose 'mother from the circus/Put her on Junior Show Time. Her father was much worse/Can't put why in this line.' Intriguing. Also apt, considering the subject matter, are the 'a-ha' phrasings nicked straight from Iggy Pop's 'Little Doll.'
posted @ 13.05 PM, April 16, 2007
British People in Hot Weather
He makes up titles like this to order, you know. At time of writing, it is indeed hot and British people are getting excited about that fact. Ha! Good thumpy beginning and then brassy refrain for the chorus. There's a lorra laughs in this record and some splendid trooping of clichés, eg, '...off their trolley/Smoking like a chimney.' You cannot fault the growls, either, especially the 'Designer tramp goes grrr' one. Possibly my favourite line, though, is 'Looking jolly from Stoke.' I also have a soft spot for the guitar sound on the crappy wee live version on 27 Points.
posted @ 13.35 PM, April 13, 2007
Absolute excellence. Culled from a Coldcut/Lisa Stansfield number called 'My Telephone.' MES, enamoured by the funky wah wah guitar, pulsating bass and jumping drum elements, got Coldcut to remix them, producing this electrifying result. Sundry electronic swirls and howls compliment and add to its rhythmic thrust. Subject wise, we're in the realms of surveillance again with some cracking lines including, 'How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you?' Gratifyingly, Eastenders old dear, Gretchen Franklin, also gets a namecheck.
posted @ 13.25 PM, April 12, 2007
Whizz Bang aka Butterflies 4 Brains
Recorded for a John Peel Session but never broadcast on MES's insistence. It later emerged, considerably reworked and with different lyrics, on the B side of Popcorn Double Feature as 'Butterflies 4 Brains.' The Peel version only surfaced when the box set was released in 2005 and it's the version I prefer. The violin does it for me.
posted @ 13.20 PM, April 11, 2007
An everyday story of everyday folk, borrowing money for the gas, an Audi, Sainsbury's, 'New Faces' on telly, mixed with some speed and ecstasy. Great pop song - the kind Jarvis Cocker would attempt to emulate years later.
posted @ 12.25 PM, April 10, 2007
Black Monk Theme Pt 1
Excellent cover of The Monk's 'I Hate You' with severely altered lyrics to allow room for buggerlugs and shortarse in the roll call of vitriol. Stays fairly faithful to the original, rhythm and organ wise, with some great extra violin work. The repeated 'hey, hey, hey's and 'you, you, you's are an absolute hoot. 'You maladjusted little monkey you.'
posted @ 13.00 PM, April 5, 2007
Sounds like a soundtrack for the city itself, complete with impatient car horns and sultry brass stabbings. The Cor Anglais/clarinet/whatever sound coaxed from the keyboard is especially intoxicating. The lyrics read like a rebuke for roadies, or shysters everywhere. 'Do you work hard? You don't!' An endorsement of the Protestant Work Ethic. Also, a bizarre Hi De Hi moment at the end. Unusually, the Peel and album versions are virtually indistinguishable.
posted @ 14.25 PM, April 4, 2007