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-   -   Elphenor ranks/reviews his top 20 Fall albums (https://www.musicbanter.com/members-journal/92998-elphenor-ranks-reviews-his-top-20-fall-albums.html)

elphenor 01-03-2019 04:44 PM

appreciate it guys

by the end I hope this is a sort of catalogue that anyone can flip through to find The Fall albums that are most likely to appeal to them

but in addition I just want to demonstrate that I really am passionate about this kind of music to a geeky degree despite the "cool" stigma

elphenor 01-04-2019 12:59 AM

#17
Shift Work (1991)
https://i.imgur.com/pBdyMgJ.jpg
Subdued and pretty, The Fall's 3rd early 90's endeavor is a surprisingly introspective pop record

What's Great About it: this album goes down like the smoothest comedown off an E trip, the heavy beats of the dancefloor (The Hacienda maybe) faintly audible in the distance as you find a quiet place to sit, it's 3 or 4am and the sun is about to peer over the tall buildings, in this moment you feel as if on the brink of some elusive revelation about your life

"Edingburgh Man" could very well be The Fall's greatest achievement, a glistening accessible jangle pop track that still carves out a unique identity, rejecting the excess of rocknroll, hedonism and the big city sins for privacy and an appreciation for the small things

early in his career with "Room to Live" he writes that some are born with "stars for eyes", after 2 decades of touring the most remarkable cities on Earth he still isn't one of them

"It's Springtime and I still miss your streets at dawn
and in the morning walking your bridges home
as I sit and stare at all of England's souls
I'll tell you something, I wish I was in Edinburgh "

a later track in the album "Rose" perhaps written about the same woman he misses walking home in Edinburgh Man or maybe even ex wife and band member Brix, is a personal favorite of mine exploring that feeling of wondering about a past lover like an old friend, he delivers the lines so poignantly "I've got a good woman... sometimes, Rose"

Why isn't it higher on the list: suffers from the same issues as Infotainment Scan for me except it's even a double album, if you put it on for a mood, it's great all the way through and there's a lot of interesting sounds, but on a track by track basis, it's not as gripping as I'd like it to be

elphenor 01-04-2019 01:42 AM

.

grindy 01-04-2019 02:07 AM

fixed

elphenor 01-04-2019 02:50 AM

wait no I had it right the first time wth

I had to consult the official fan source, annotated Fall

Edinburgh Man

also I can apparently edit my posts itt without approval, that is nice to know

it's because I have the last line wrong that "bridges" makes more sense, been hearing it wrong for a good 5 years at this point

elphenor 01-05-2019 12:47 AM

#16
Room to Live (1982)
https://i.imgur.com/c40mWzF.jpg
The lesser known follow up to Hex Enduction Hour isn't the same bar setting statement musically, but it is an infectious batch of songs in a similar style

What's Great About It: it's a bit of a shame Marc Riley's last session with The Fall would be a quick afterthought utilizing the same set-up as Hex Enduction because as much as Marky might spit at it, the boys had a special chemistry

of the entire rotating carnival that has been The Fall's line-up no one left an individual impression in the same way as Riley, his jittery untrained squeal on guitar an equal match for MES's distinctive vocals

intentional or not the way he sliced in and out of recordings seemingly with no logic combined with the lofi recording process gave The Fall of this time period a type of natural sparsity, a lot of tense dead air and space for the melodic basslines to settle in

and when the spastic guitar did show, it was made all the more electrifying, the choppy punk lines played with an uneasy dissonance and a sort of elongated cartoonish quality

I don't think I've heard anything else quite like it

the title track is the best song here "Room to Live" features a brilliantly tasteful horn accompaniment while MES spits clever lines that wrap around into a chant of the album title as a mantra

"There's no hate in the point I give, I just want Room to Live"

Why isn't it higher on the list: this album is 9 high quality tracks that I highly recommend to any Fall fan, a few of them take their time getting to max speed, but they're all worth it in some way

however if you were going to listen to only 1 Fall album from this era, it'd have to be Hex Enduction Hour by a mile

elphenor 01-05-2019 02:07 PM

Intermission: Discussion

Savant-like visionary or rambling alcoholic lunatic?

how the blurred lines between the clever, the vapid, and the incomprehensible keep The Fall an enigma to even long time fans

https://i.imgur.com/wCJ7KQT.jpg

Mark E. Smith spoke on his lyrics in an interview "What I have is an original approach to writing, it's not trained, but it's not jargonized either"

beyond that it's hard to, on the surface, quantify what exactly makes his utterances so compelling

his command over language is dodgy, while it's true there's a level of vocabulary not often found in popular music, you can't always trust that the narrator here will even use the words correctly, definitions being flimsy things to be discarded if it just feels right

sure there is a wicked sense of humor

but in searching for meaning you'll find contradictory ideologies, non-sequitur, dead end phrases, and obscure regional specific references

all of it delivered in a thick northern English accent that becomes harder and harder to understand the years of heavy drinking mushing up the syllables and presenting the unavoidable question "Is there really something here, or were we all bamboozled?"

but it is in this moment that you remember how the secrets of Grotesque slowly presented themselves to you on repeat listens, like a good woman, you had to work to see them naked, and in this process the old cogs of your brain that have been so conditioned to linear thinking began to spin in new ways adopting to a language that is alien but grounded and populist because you were given a much greater therapy than a elated melody or a romantic puddle to weep about in

you were made to think

Hip Priest, he is not appreciated

OccultHawk 01-05-2019 05:58 PM

Beautifully written. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

Zhanteimi 01-05-2019 06:41 PM

Both.

elphenor 01-06-2019 09:53 PM

#14 The Unutterable (2000)

https://i.imgur.com/t8tLweu.jpg
Lush electronics envelope Marky's snarl as The Fall barrel into the new millennium with possibly their most refreshing effort in a decade

What's Great About it: this album was the creative life The Fall needed after 5 or 6 years of mediocre releases, it's as if every good idea of the 1994-1999 period finally fell into place

likely this is due to Julia Adamson getting a larger role in the production and musical direction, I'd venture to say this is the best produced album in the entirety of The Fall's discography

her punk background, originally playing guitar then moving to synths touring alongside acts like Pink Military, led her to an internship with the legendary Martin Hannit before becoming a sound engineer herself for Strawberry Studios

this album has her digital work up front, from the start you're greeted with no wavy guitar samples and what sounds like MES's voice cut into a grumbling noise that then blooms into atmospheric electronics backed with majestic synth lines

it becomes almost some kind of science fiction tribal ritual, beautiful and slightly unsettling, the backing vocals come in chanting the track title

"Cyber-Insekt, Cyber-Insekt, Yellow Moth Fly, Cyber-Insekt"

Brilliant.

the pace doesn't let up when you're hit with the sinister groove on "Two Librans", truly a wicked one-two punch of an opener that leaves you wondering "what else does this freshened up Fall have up their sleeves?"

don't let me spoil it, give this record a spin

Why isn't it higher on the list: musically it's stunning, but I'm not as impressed with Marky himself here strictly from a vocal perspective he has more incendiary, personality heavy performances

though this can't be totally faulted given the tone of the record, which gets to the larger point that this album is just enough of an anomaly to make comparing it to some of my other top tier Fall albums potentially difficult

so I've avoided any of that, and put it here


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