Friday, 8 April 2011

Day 25: A request...

Thanks to all who keep emailing, glad to know you are all enjoying it, I asked on a forum I post on quite a bit if anyone had any requests, the only one so far is this, which I've not heard much, but here's my take on it.

Song: Stephen Song
Album: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall

Year: 1984

This was actually released the very month I was born, strange to be reviewing it now, but hey ho. This was the band's first release for Beggars Banquet, a label that I've always admired, carrying bands such as The Tindersticks, The National, The Cult, Mercury Rev and The Llama Farmers, all great bands you should give a blast and see what you think.

Anyway, this particular song features vocals from former Virgin Prunes man Gavin Friday, who is an Irish singer/musician/artist who appears elsewhere on this album on "Copped It" and "Clear Off". His vocals are very folksy, you can hear his Irish lilt throughout, almost a cliched Irish sound to be honest, the drawn out, gruff stylings remind me of a number of Irish musicians, but I won't do him the insult of comparing him to lesser artists as he intertwines lines with Mark's laid-back approach here with aplomb.

The lyrics, well, they are as abstract as they come, "It was a thing with a head like a spudball" is the first line and it doesn't get much clearer than that for me here I'm afraid, it seems to be about a nameless (as ever) protagonist who sounds like he is part of a dark world, taking walks along privet hedges, mens' interest magazine The Face gets a mention, and a quick check reveals that yes, it was in publication back then (it folded in 2004, shame). I presume this is a celebrity they are talking about, or at least an artist.

The production is a bit much here, the instruments and 'two-drummer' lineup are very equally mastered, couple this with backing vocals from Brix and two almost-competing frontmen and its a claustrophobic experience. Add to this the crazy artwork from the album by Danish-born artist Claus Castenskiold and you have a full package, something which I feel is lost sometimes with music these days (old man?). the cover seems to be a face in agony from my perspective, what do other people think?

The album title couldn't be more accurate, if this was among the first few tracks I'd heard by The Fall, I'd be intrigued for sure, but maybe put off by how brash and intense the experience is, it's almost like being assaulted with images and influences in one three-minute blast. But therein lies the beauty of The Fall, they cannot be judged by one track or album alone, The Fall is a multi-faced beast which you need to approach from the right angle, this is one of the more challenging, but has its rewards.

In Fall-related news, I think I've listened to Your Future Our Clutter that much in my car that I've worn it out, that hasn't happened to me for years. Shows you how great it is though, I'll do a track from that tomorrow.

To anyone wondering what the background image to the blog is, the man on the floor of the car park (at the Forest of Dean services near Wales) is a guy called Darren Kaskie, who we were taking home after our bands toured together, the van was so hot, he had to collapse, we managed to pick the one week the whole of the UK decided to melt in 2006. He's in a band who take a similar love of repetition to new extremes, check them out here.

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