Sunday, 12 June 2011

Day 89: It's there but I don't read it...

A more punk one today...

Song: Futures and Pasts
Album: Live At The Witch Trials
Year: 1979

So this one is fast and frenetic and takes more from the punk scene than later material did, they dropped the snotty, angry thing quite fast as Mark realised he could do more if he made his own framework. This one is still amazing though, I'm not generally a massive fan of LATWT, it seems to rely on speed and anger to get through and ends up sounding a bit repetitive as it travels through its 11 songs, despite most of those songs being quite short. This one, however is one the best on the album, combining what would become The Fall's trademark sound, a high reliance on the bass sound being loud but still crystal clear and the keys throwing some chaos into the mix. The drums sound equally frantic here. This may be to do with how quickly it was recorded, all 11 songs were put down in a day despite the band having a week booked. MES was ill apparently, so hence the 'live' sounding nature of the album, but without it actually being live itself.

The lyrics here are a bit more accomplished than the rest of the album which tends to rely on the title being repeated a lot. Here we hear Smith painting a vivid, clear situation: 'I was in a sleeping dream/When a policeman brought my mother home/By the window I didn't scream/I was too old for that/I was in a drunken dream/The pubs were closed/It was three o'clock' now this seems like it could be from one of Smith's favourite shows The Twilight Zone, the sense of the uncanny and the first-person narrative at play. It certainly sounds as if he is pitching a film idea, one that would certainly be set in black and white with miserable-looking actors.

The next part gets even more surreal: 'At the bottom of the street it seemed/There was a policeman lost in the fog' now this seems even more like the first line, witnessing things while you are awake as if in a dream, being a casual observer. This could well be a comment on the effects of conciousness and the unconscious having a grip on reality. It could also be a comment on people steadfastly living in reality, the lines: 'Look at the woman of thirty-nine/Look at the man of forty-nine/You can read their lousy lives/You can see their ugly face lines/They understand but they don't see it' like they have ignored everything but their lives, quite an easy thing to do.

All this is crammed into a few minutes of music, incredible. Even more incredible when you imagine Smith was only around 22 years old at the time, such maturity in his writing.

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