The Fall in Fives #064

  • You Haven’t Found it Yet
  • I’m Not Satisfied
  • Way Round
  • Service
  • Slang King

You Haven’t Found it Yet
A pleasant enough, if not especially inspiring track; I can’t decide, after several listens whether I consider it to be pleasingly laid-back or a bit lackadaisical. Mid-tempo, with a solid beat and a melodic guitar line, it kind of drifted by me each time, although it never felt like a chore, to be fair. It made its live debut at the 1990 Reading Festival (when I was actually present – one of my two festival experiences) as a gentle instrumental intro – you can see it here.

MES’s performance fits the laid-back (I seem to have settled on that interpretation) atmosphere of the song; he even sounds quite light-hearted in places – there’s even a little chuckle at 1:44. Lyrically, it seems to based around an aimless journey across London (including “flashy Camden Town”), but there are some rather odd turns of phrase, such as “mental saw-down of your head”, which even Smith himself seems a bit perplexed by: “I got the record out to check the lyrics and I couldn’t f***ing work them out” (from Q magazine 1992, quoted on the Reformation A-Z page). Definitely a solid if not spectacular part of The Fall canon. 7/10

I’m Not Satisfied
A fairly ‘straight’ cover (by The Fall’s standards anyway: the original is here). Like several other songs on Cerebral Caustic, there’s a strangely sparse and brittle feeling to this one. The guitars feel very thin, the bass is buried a long way down in the mix and there’s something very detached and dismissive about the vocals. Despite all of this, I always find myself liking this one much more than I can really justify. There’s something weird, strung-out and almost desperate about it that rather appeals to me. 7.5/10

Way Round
The driving, twangy riff matched with an array of squelchy synth squiggles mark this out clearly as being from Unutterable. It has a driving, insistent quality that suited the middle of this otherwise rather mid-tempo playlist. The electronica is verging on being overdone and cheesy in places (a 60s sci-fi TV theme tune seems to appear in places, e.g. at 1:13) but it just about gets away with it. This is partly because MES’s sneering, sibilant vocal sits on top of it in an effective contrast. As ever, I have little idea as to what he’s on about, but once again there are some great lines: Leathered to 70’s shoeboxesI stumble into glass disco sweatboxes. Hard to improve on The Story of the Fall’s summaryIggy Pop meets Dr Who. 7.5/10

Service
Have never been a particular fan of this one: The Fall do slowed-down house. The piano riff and the keyboard stabs make it sound very dated. Again, the contrast between the laid-back music and MES’s drawl is a bit of a positive, but overall it’s just sluggish and uninspiring. It bears a passing resemblance to The Smith’s Oscillate Wildly in places , but that’s about the most interesting thing you can say about it. The Peel version is even more lethargic, and the ‘instrumental demo’ version (from the album’s bonus disc) is one of the more pointless things that I own. 5/10

Slang King
From the album (as I pointed out several times, I know) that formed my introduction to The Fall’s wonderful and frightening world… It’s hard to put myself back into my 15-year-old shoes and imagine just how strange and mysterious this sounded to me at the time. Then, it sounded to me like music from another planet; to be fair though, it does still sound other-worldly. The heavily phased/chorused guitar line squats toad-like over the song; an incongruous trilling organ ripples in from time to time; a selection of high-pitched, breathy backing vocals drift hither and thither – and MES is at once crisp and distorted, discussing ‘lime green receptionists’ and ‘triumphant processions down the road of quease’; also describing a scenario where some kids have insufficient funds to purchase a curly-wurly (which must be one of those many moments of lyrical confusion for non-UK listeners). Still strange and still wonderful: all here is ace. 9.5/10

3 thoughts on “The Fall in Fives #064

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