I’ve decided to begin an ongoing series on my love of the band The Fall after thinking hard about what I can contribute to the considerably large amount of writing available on the band. I don’t want to write a definitive statement on the group so I think a rolling series documenting my personal perspective on the group and their music seems appropriate. Considering the band’s own position in the world of music, a position that remains in a state of flux, I think this method of covering the band is quite fitting.
A brief history of The Fall:
The Fall formed in 1976 in Prestwich, north of Manchester’s city centre. The band’s first album was 1979’s Live At The Witch Trials and to date they have released 30 studio albums, the last one being 2013’s Re-Mit. The band’s line-up has never been fixed and although some members have lasted longer the others the one constant in the band’s career is singer and band leader, Mark E Smith. For the uninitiated, this is as much as you need to be going on with.
What does The Fall mean to me?
The Fall first clicked with me around the time I got Spotify in 2008. Prior to this, I’d always been steered towards Live At The Witch Trials as the ideal introduction to the band and it’s widely regarded as a classic album. I never thought much of it (and still don’t to be honest), so it wasn’t until I dipped into the band’s discography via Spotify that I really sat up and listened. I remember hearing the band’s current album at the time, Imperial Wax Solvent, and being immediately grabbed by the freaky, snake-jazz of the opening song. 50 Year Old Man, the album’s 10 minute celebration of middle age left a huge impression on me too. I’d never heard such uncompromising, idiosyncratic music delivered in such a way. These guys sounded like freaks.
Before, dear reader, you assume I’m embarking upon a prolonged and dewy-eyed recollection of my first few encounters with my all-time favourite band, this is leading somewhere.
The first and undoubtedly most important reason why I love The Fall is that this is a band of the now. What immediately impressed me about Imperial Wax Solvent was that the 30+ year old band I was listening to was making white-hot, contemporary, relevant music. Music that ignores its past. Music that looks forward and never back. This appeals to me now as much as it did back then. Anyone with a vague knowledge of The Fall should cast away any preconceptions and approach this band from the here and now. Locate the band’s most recent album, give it a spin and work your way backward if you like what you hear. The new millennium has been very good for The Fall and this is remains one of the reasons I hold this band in such high esteem. For a band with so much history behind them, the fact that they remain relevant is amazing.
Without further ado, here’s the swinging ‘Mister Rode‘ from the band’s most recent EP ‘The Remainderer‘, released in late 2013.
Part of the fun in writing this blog is that it prompts me go over just exactly what I love about the music I spend all day listening to, and obviously this involves a lot more music consumption. I look forward to diving back into The Fall‘s vast body of work. Consider this a work-in-progress.