Album: Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never)
So yeah, it's a nice little outing this one, comparitively mid-paced to most tunes of the time, it is obviously a live recording, possibly tidied up in the studio, but it sounds great. Little bit of background crowd noise to begin with (this album was recorded in clubs around the north) and we're into what sounds like to these ears what Elastica and similar bands ripped off in the 90s, minus the pop sheen. The simple but hook-heavy riff really cries insistence at you, slipping into your mind before you know it's there. The song never strives to run any faster than this mid-paced tempo and it's layers work well together, guitar parts chirrup and float in the background, flitting in and out of existence which gives it a very lazy and dreamlike feel. Among songs that clatter along like heavy goods vehicles, this is a comparitive lake of calm. The vocals are very impressive, clear and concise, there's not much improv happening for a live gig (compare that to now, we usually get the title of the song, but very little else clear) and its staying power is its best friend.
The lyrics seem to be a badge of pride, the kind you hear people saying quite a lot 'I've lived here all my life' etc. But with a weird, detatched mood running through it, some of it unpleasant. The lines about 'burrowmen' and 'faces frozen in pain' suggest hardship and unpleasantness, but there's also silly humour in there too 'The dwarf plays pool to prove his height' being one example. The little aside from Mark at the end sounds both patronising and friendly at the same time: "Are you doing what you were doing two years ago? Yeah? Well don't make a career out of it." Sounds like a bad pub joke, but also like a genuinely sharp put-down so make of that what you will.
It all points to frustration I'm afraid, MES seems to be stamping his peers with a mark of disdain, accompanied by a roll of the eyes, he mentions the 'me generation' at one point. This still stands now,we have a country where we are afraid of telling people 'no' for fear of reprisal, maybe the sage-like powers are at work again here too.
Reading Mick Middle's book, Mark constantly voices his fears of documentation and trainspotter types poring over old songs, stating the Fall are a band that live in the present. I quite agree, but I'm afraid I will keep going back over the past as it's still throwing up weird gems like this. Guess I'm one of those sad office types he hates so much, oh well.