Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Day 43: He sees visions of islands.

A dark story unfolds in a graveyard, a rabbit hunter creeps round a dark setting and a grave-tender is shocked to be shot at, as a result, he shows the rabbit hunter who has mistakenly shot at him a jaw-bone from the ground, obviously dislodged from a recently-disturbed grave. From then on the laid-off rabbit hunter is cursed with visions of jawbones and is put off eating at all. Now if this isn't literature laced with music, I don't know what is. The lyrics in this song are again, somewhat buried in delivery, but what a song, dark, inventive, bat-shit crazy. Only helped along by the demented and chirpy chorus.

Also one of MES's best vocal deliveries ever.

Song: Jawbone And The Air Rifle
Album: Hex Enduction Hour

Year: 1982

So this album was partly recorded in Iceland, I've no idea if the dark perpetual night-time got to the band, but this is where the sweep of dark, gothic horror via the north-west comes in for me, there had been hints of it before, but this is a masterpiece, two drummers create a clanging, skitterish rhythm section, while the bass sounds incredibly prominent and MES's vocals are clear and concise, a welcome rarity.

The lyrics would bear a full replication here, but that would be lazy of me, I'll instead say that the sense of narrative wouldn't be out of place in film or a collection of short stories, such is the strange, totally unique nature of the descriptions and cadence he unfurls here. Whole sections could be deconstructed to create dozens of other stories, take this one for example: 'A cemetery overlooked clough valley of mud/And the grave-keeper was out on his rounds/Yellow-white shirt buried in duffle coat hood/Keeping edges out with mosaic color stones' in a brief verse, he has fit in more description than most bands manage in an album, you get an instant image of this man and his mannerisms and its haunting, even the comic lines like 'The air rifle lets out a mis-placed shot/It smashed a chip off a valued tomb' and 'Rifleman he say y’see I get no kicks anymore/From wife or children four/There’s been no war for forty years/And getting drunk fills me with guilt' this is a humourous image, a man so bored of life he goes out drunkenly shooting things at random, but also, addresses being laid off, something which is inherently sad, this is what life has come to, very poetic.

I like the disgusting idea of a jaw-bone covered in slime, and the fact it puts him off meat and eating, having hallucinations, 'Advertisements become carnivores/And roadworkers turn into jawbones/And he has visions of islands, heavily covered in slime' it's all a bit Wicker Man isn't it? A normal 1970s/80s situation injected with a touch of the uncanny, really strong stuff when you think about it in this context.

I'd like to know what books MES was reading at the time he wrote this, if it was something similar to HP Lovecraft I wouldn't be surprised. I'd thoroughly recommend if you have friends who dismiss The Fall as too awkward to get into or they don't get it, get them to listen to this one and read along with the lyrics, there's no denying this is one of their definitive tracks and one that showcases everything wonderful about this incredible band.

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