- 4 1/2 Inch
- Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes
- Jim’s “The Fall”
A funny little one. Done for a 92 Peel session, it’s a ragged and random (fairly loose) cover of a Lee Perry song, the original of which is pretty ragged and random itself. Opening with what sounds like someone practising Sinister Waltz on a battery-powered Casio whilst last night’s wine glasses get cleared away, it lollops along amiably enough but has the air of something thrown together without a great deal of thought. There are some vaguely interesting background noises (including what sounds like a submarine sonar at 2:36-2:39) but overall it’s rather forgettable.
It’s probably notable that it has only made one appearance on any of the myriad of variable quality compilation albums (A World Bewitched) and was only played live twice; although this description of its final run out does sound quite intriguing: The band resurrect an extremely spartan version of “Kimble” which is either a piece of genius or complete rubbish depending on what sort of frame of mind the listener may or may not be in. Somehow reference to “Why are people grudgeful?” is made and attempts at dub are made somewhat incoherently.
Time to wheel out the ‘for completists only’ cliché, I’m afraid. 5.5/10
4 1/2 Inch
The sound of several musical genres each being battered relentlessly against a wall until they’re bloodied and semi-conscious then being bound together, crushed and crammed forcibly into a mixing desk. The drums crash, blare and distort; a heavy, twangy funk-rock riff muscles its way in periodically, trying in vain to assert its dominance; a shrill, atonal sci-fi synth darts in periodically, surveys the chaos, sticks up two fingers and dashes out again; and somewhere, lurking in the shadows, a frightened little harpsichord-effect keyboard tinkles shyly.
Over all of this, the multiple layers of cut & paste MES vocals swarm like enraged wasps; a bit like being surrounded by a crowd of angry drunks getting down to a brawl at closing time in Weatherspoons. The words are completely beyond interpretation; I’d agree with The Annotated Fall that the song ‘isn’t meant to be explained’.
It has that bleak desperation that characterises much of Levitate; but there’s also something relentlessly aggressive and venomous here that makes it a punishing but astonishingly exhilarating listen. 10/10
Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes
Like LUS, Unutterable contains many works of genius but would benefit greatly from having 10-15 minutes lopped off. This is most definitely one that’s in line for excision. It may well have been a bit of a laugh in the studio to have a bit of a crack at lounge-jazz, throwing in some mellow electric piano, trilling (often unbearably shrill) flute and some laid-back brassy keyboard stabs. But it isn’t much of a laugh to listen to; I found this increasingly tortuous with each listen. 1/10
Jim’s “The Fall”
A heads-down, no-nonsense garage rocker that opened the much-maligned AYAMW. The ‘User’s Guide to The Fall’ (quoted here) described this as a ‘gnarly statement of intent’, and there’s certainly something aggressive and defiant about it; captured in both the muscular riffing and the refrain of ‘We are the new Fall’. Not the most musically complex track, but an invigorating burst of energy. Loved every minute of every play. 9/10
Like a couple of other tracks from NFE, I wasn’t entirely convinced when I first heard it, but have grown to love it. There’s a joyous, sprightly feel to it; a sort of skiffly, railroad blues kind of atmosphere, driven by Kieron’s gently shuffling drums, PG’s country twang, and some ululating piano (the sort that stops abruptly when I stranger walks into the saloon). There’s also a spot of rich, baritone ‘ah-ooh’ backing vocals that could have come from the soundtrack of a 50s western lurking here and there (you can hear them at 1:11, for example) to add to the fun.
There’s a sort of melody floating around somewhere, although MES is some distance away from capturing it anywhere near accurately; but it doesn’t matter, as he seems to be having a whale of a time singing it, and his enthusiasm is quite infectious. (All the more remarkable when you consider, retrospectively, his personal circumstances at the time.) A toe-tapping delight. 8.5/10