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Old 01-01-2021, 07:26 PM   #43 (permalink)
elphenor
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#4 The Wonderful and the Frightening (1984)


high falutin' glammed up garage in this relentlessly inspired double LP

What's Great About it: This is the album that first put The Fall on my radar. Back in the day when elph was a baby bat and mostly into New Wave and Goth, and The Smiths the wacky pop gem "C.R.E.E.P" somehow made it onto a playlist of mine. Between the sparkling synths, infectious bassline, and totally bizzaro duet of Brix and Marky scarcely has a piece of music inspired such unadulterated joy in me.

it's dripping with vibrant personality, it's absurd but not stupid, so colorful and fun I want to laugh and bedroom pogo at the same time

it's the type of music that'd usher in World Peace if people could just wake up from their greyscale cynical commercial trials in the science of marketable production and Sex and GOOD GOD GET SOME FOOKING TASTES

anyway I see "Oh, Brother" as the partner song and it too is phenomenal melodic bass ecstasy with obscure lyricism

this is the first Fall album where Brix started playing an active role and besides the pop tracks her influence is prominent on the psych garage opener and the rockin' "2X4" that's hilariously inspired by her father's suspicion of Marky, the image being that of the patriarch chasing the delinquent Marky while wielding a block of wood. Whether this really occurred, who knows.

She rarely gets proper credit for what her playing brought to the table and in addition to Karl Burns this was easily one of the tightest incarnations of the group

Still, The Wonderful Frightening World of The Fall is the world of Mark E. Smith and it's his wild drug fueled imagination that spins the dizzying guitars and double drums into wild new landscapes

"Copped It" features the Virgin Prunes vocalist in addition to already being a chuggin' dumpster rock monstrosity about the puritanical attitude of the music scene towards plagiarism

"Disney Dreamland Debased" hilariously utilizes a premonition MES had while at Disneyland with The Fall the same day there was a freak ride accident ending in a decapitated customer for the purposes of a jangle pop ditty

track for track Wonderful and Frightening delivers the most creative ideas of probably any Fall album on this list

in addition, MES really hones his drunken sing-along style into a hook generating machine, his natural command of melody can reach out and grip the listener like industrial strength glue

behind the accent and wordy style you start to hear echoes of Bo Diddley and Gene Vincent, the whole great American tradition of Rock'n'Roll being channeled almost impossibly through this quaint Edinburgh man

there's a lot to love in the Wonderful world of The Fall

Why isn't it higher on the list: The Fall's first expedition into prettier psych guitars while interesting doesn't always deliver pure electricity, and some bands do outclass them in this specific genre

this is right outside the top 3, and my first real love when it comes to The Fall, but it's not a perfect album
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