Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Fall - Perverted By Language

Today (December 12th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Perverted By Language, the sixth studio album by the English band the Fall. The line-up on this album included Mark E. Smith (vocals, piano and violin), Karl Burns (drums and bass), Steve Hanley (bass), Paul Hanley (drums and keyboards), Craig Scanlon (guitar and vocals) and Brix Smith (guitar and backing vocals).

Side one opens with the compelling percussion beats of “Eat Y’self Fitter”. It fits perfectly with the rap-like delivery of the lyrics. I may not know what this one is all about, but it is certainly catchy. My fingers ended up drumming along in time here at the desk.

“Neighbourhood of Infinity” slips in a bit of static guitar feedback that I was not fond of when I was reviewing Sonic Youth earlier this year. Luckily, this one is the shortest track on the album so I was able to bear through it.

The tempo slows for “Garden”. While the guitar work is still very “chunky” sounding, I am thankful for the lack of feedback. What is interesting is the Fall takes a single alternating chord and manages to keep your interest for close to nine minutes.

Brix takes the lead vocals for the first time on “Hotel Blöedel”. The song has a bit of a Bohemian vibe to it.

Side starts with “Smile”. I get a whole military-dictatorship imagery off of this one, as if someone in a position of ultimate power forces his subjects to put a cheerful disposition even though their world is full of misery. Maybe it is how Mark delivers the song’s title in a banshee-like wail.

I have no idea what the title “I Feel Voxish” means. I did a search on the Internet and apparently it is a word that the band made up for this song.

“Tempo House”, which was recorded live at the Hacienda in Manchester earlier in the year, also clocks in at close to nine minutes in length. It definitely has that small venue feel, with the band just grooving along.

The original vinyl ended with “Hexen Definitive / Strife Knot”.

A 1998 CD added five more bonus tracks to the mix. The 2005 re-release included another eleven tracks, many of which were live recordings of the earlier songs.

This is the first time I have ever listened to an album by the Fall, and I found it to be an interesting experiment indeed. While I was totally lost on where Perverted By Language is going lyrically, I did find the music to be rather accessible. This is not one of those albums I would have listened to at all back in 1983; even today I cannot see myself listening to this one a lot. It has a kind of an edge that just does not fit me very well.

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