Saturday, 14 May 2011

Day 61: Sinister Popes...

Here's a request, and it's claimed it's a hard one. I agree, but only because it's so different.

Song: Papal Visit
Album: Room To Live
Year: 1982

So this is what sounds like a highly-improvised soundscape to me, there's some scratchy violin actually played by MES, some footstep-sounding percussion, some industrial noises and faint squalks of feedback in the background far off. The main focus of this is the lyrics, which focus on an account of a papal visit, incredibly sinister and unnerving.

The zombie-like delivery adds an air of unease to the track, lines are uttered as fact in a calm, unwavering voice about an actual papal visit. I think it's a bout disbelief that people could be duped into making a fuss, and just general thoughts about it. As with everything in the wonderful and frightening world of this band, normal items and situations take on unusual traits, yellow-white umbrellas for example.

The sinister lines come in the form of 'helicopter strips the land' and specifics like 'the first impression will be the last'. Some say this song is a focus on the evil of the church, the uneasiness it creates is similar to the unease people get when broaching this subject, the idea of 'human trash' fits in with this, but again, this is just conjecture, it could be to do with anything.

It's generally disturbing as a whole, the drone of the violin combined with the unusual percussion and Mark's barely-there vocals mumbling about lay bread and assassinations simply add to this. This whole track actually sounds years ahead, it sounds like stuff that improv groups like Sunburned Hand Of The Man put together now, washes of nothingness that build to create terrifying beasts, the real joy of experimentation within music.

Comparisons must have been made to The Velvet Underground with this track, the post-modern lyrics and highly obtuse sounds would suggest this, but I would argue MES would not have consciously ripped them off, I have faith that this is a wholly original track, it creaks and stammers to an end, to close what, after all, is the strangest Fall release ever, surely?

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