The Real New Fall LP (formerly Country On The Click)
have a terrible recurring dream. In it, I find myself (fresh-faced and peachy-keen) inside a dimly-lit record store, restlessly browsing through several ill-disciplined CD racks. There’s a tingling in the back of my head; a nagging, prickling sensation. It speaks to me. “Seek ye the grumpy Manchunian”, it whispers. “Not that one!” it exclaims, as I edge closer to a copy of The Smiths. Finally, I stumble through to a concealed area of the shop and gasp at the sight which greets me—a vast, sweeping plain of CDs, all marked with the same enigmatic moniker: The Fall. I begin to panic. It’s too much to take in, I’ll never be able to listen to all of these! The CDs begin to grow, casting long shadows over my shaking form as my legs tangle together in a bumbled attempt at escape. But there’s no escape... I’m surrounded...Surrounded...
It’s tough trying to get into a band whose back-catalogue is visible from space. There’s a genuine phobia involved which demands that you make the “correct” choice as a starting point. If you don’t, you’re a failure. You’re a useless waste of musical space who wouldn’t know a great album if it performed an alarmingly uncharacteristic action in order to identify itself as a great album. Fortunately, it seems that the vast majority of Fall records *are* the correct choice. Ideally they’ll feature two things: semi-incomprehensible (yet strangely prophetic) ramblings from the eternally tetchy Mark E. Smith, and a band who sound as if their music is perpetually falling down the stairs. The Real New Fall LP delivers on both counts. To much rejoicing.
Opener “Green Eyed Loco-Man” is a swirling tangle of gently distorted fuzz, interspersed with twitchy bleeps and the tell-tale sounds of our man Smith addressing the nation. Although audibly clearer than on previous releases, any overall meaning lurking within the lyrical proclamations remains obscured. Generally, though, it’s safe to assume that Mark is having a bit of a rant about something. About what, and precisely why, is up to the listener to decide. Or you can just let yourself be carried along, nodding sagely at lines like “Your greedy past / Cold on a plate”. Like a freakish indie marionette.
If that’s too much bother, you can default to singing along with various infectious choruses. The insistent call to “Open the box / Open the box / Open the goddamn box” of “Open the Boxoctosis #2” holds together a jangly, crisp number about .. err.. gameshows? And will stay in your head for a significant period of time. By which I mean; until death. Meanwhile, the vigorous “Theme From Sparta FC” finally bridges that elusive gap between an insanely warlike region of Ancient Greece and their modern day football-hooligan equivalents. Possibly. It may just be an excuse to chant “Come on have a bet / We live on blood / We are Sparta FC”. Either way, everyone’s having a fine old time amidst a great tune.
It can be exasperatingly difficult to pinpoint why, exactly, The Fall are so mesmerizing. All I can tell you is that, at present, I firmly believe the following lyrics from the laid-back “Mountain Energei” to be the finest ever penned: “So I went fishing / A note from a fish said / Dear Dope / If you wanna catch us / You’ll need a rod and a line / Signed - a fish”. No arguments, please. That’s genius at work.
I’ll rest easy tonight.