“The Fall, always different, always the same” John Peel.
Hex Enduction Hour running at an hour is essential Fall. Ramshackle. Mark E Smith rambling in madman / genius tones. Two drummers summoning hypnotic beats. A pre-cursor to the Happy Mondays maybe. This spirit of punk / D.I.Y. taken to a total extreme. The Fall have released 29 studio albums to date.
The bands 5th album (1982) is often cited as their best, but that’s a whole big can of worms.
Mark E Smith is a frontman you could not make up. He fired a band member for ordering a salad.
Motown were oddly interested in signing The Fall. A label representative then heard this album and stated “I see no commercial potential in this band whatsoever”. I see that as a seal of approval really.
Classical kicks off Hex Enduction Hour. That rolling sound. Smith nonchalantly murmers “Hey there fuckface”. The sound of The Fall will always remind me of John Peel. Is there a better champion to have?
Jawbone and the Air-Rifle is more urgent. Pavement would ape this sound in the early 90’s, they needn’t have bothered as this sound cannot be truly replicated.
Hip Priest is a widely recognised classic by The Fall. “he isssss not – APPPRECIATTEED ” a long song that stumbles into art. Hip Priest, whilst sparse in its make-up has a threatening vibe. Quietly is builds to a crazed climax.
Fortress / Deer Park from its electronic beginning is more essential Fall. The keyboards, when they arrive, take the song to another level. Scorching hairdryer from Mark E Smith only adds even further.
Mere Psued Mag. Editors Father the title is as out-there as the sound. Repeated drones from the frontman with a driven rattling sound. Frantically shambolic the song builds in an unconventional manner.
Winter, Pt 1 is easier on the ear. The more subtle approach is a change but The Fall still sound absolutely like the same band.
Winter, Pt 2 continues the track. Soft with jagged instruments bouncing off each other at right angles.
Just Step Sideways has a massive hook. It has hit single qualities about it, albeit a hit single in a parralel universe “Just step sideways from this world, today”. The song has strong endearing power. It’s almost beautifully put. Our lunatic friend vocalist ups the ante and you realise John Peel was always right about The Fall. Do listen to this song.
Who Makes The Nazis? has a title only The Fall could pull-off. Repetative drums and cow moos back Smiths monotone ramble.
Iceland is ahead of time. It always reminds me of Underworld’s – “Cowgirl”. Those keys. Structured, yet not structured. A very unique song and a great one at that.
And This Day pulls the listener back under with a massive engulfing sound. The sound of a circus suggests itself, Mark E Smith, as Ringmaster conducts the album to a weighty close.
Maybe that exec from Motown was wrong all those years ago? The Fall would have made the perfect double A-Side for Lionel Richie’s “Hello” (winks)…