It’s Monday Playlist [19/10/20]

Five songs to start the week! Follow the Spotify playlist here.

Mirrors – Rejjie Snow / Snoh Aalegra / Cam O’bi (2020)

A beautifully constructed track, ‘Mirrors’ intricately traverses realms of jazz and R&B to create a softly discordant atmosphere reminiscent of the complex rhythms of Thundercat. The vocals are soft recollections that are vitally understated, allowing the meticulous backing to gently flourish without overpowering the poetics. This is a song of enticing sparsity that displays an undeniable aptitude in arrangement and form.

Comet Face – King Krule (2020)

While King Krule’s output often relies on an individualistic approach to genre-mashing, ‘Comet Face’ comes straight out of the post-punk playbook. The bassline is dark and lurks behind the oppressive pace of the track, with unsettlingly ambiguous lyrics complimenting the unnerving nature of the soundscape (“Boy in the ground with his pants down / What happened to him in his past life?“). ‘Comet Face’ is a haunting number that doesn’t let its sinister intensity escape to become anything more digestible or smooth, and rightly so.

Frail – Crystal Castles (2015)

Leading with a deceptively ethereal opening, ‘Frail’ grows into a rambunctious club stomper with blissful spirit. This is arguably a somewhat simple track, with a heavy beat overseeing a backdrop of fuzzy, distorted synths. Though, it would be unfair to ignore its gloriously celestial being. It moves from dreamy interludes to divine and elegant fervor seamlessly, generously offering euphoria and emotion in equal quantities.

Don’t Breathe Out – Roots Manuva (2015)

Giving in both divinity and optimism, ‘Don’t Breathe Out’ is a gorgeous composition that explores spritiualism and self-reflection. Musically, the track grows subtly in emphasis while remaining beautifully restrained as Manuva inquires his own existential motivations (“Me and my God lead a pureness love / Known to be about what pureness does“). This is a sumptuously mellow and uplifting number, showcasing the lyrical and musical maturity of Manuva in graceful assuredness.

He War – Cat Power (2003)

A three minute hit of urgency, power and utter quality. Power’s vocals hold a jagged edge in their authoritative resonance while also being able to transform the exquisite gentleness from her more reserved work, a shift in tone readily deployed when necessary. Simply, ‘He War’ is an excellent song that thrives in its minimalism and confidence.

‘It’s Monday’ Playlist [12/10/20]

Five songs to start the week! Follow the Spotify playlist here for five new songs every Monday.

Upbeat Ritual – Thee Oh Sees/Osees (2020)

Anchored by a stunning groove, ‘Upbeat Ritual’ sees an expertly executed fusion of jazzy percussion with urgent alternative rock. There’s certainly a generous offering from it’s two-minute stint – ghostly, occultist lyrics (‘Conjuring a haunt with faceless science he has hidden in his spells‘), an understated yet commanding main hook, and a deranged electronic squeal complimenting every line. ‘Upbeat Ritual’ is a track that maintains an enticing urgency while holding an undeniable coolness in its stride.

24-7 – Nubiyan Twist & Ego Ella May (2020)

One of the easiest, most welcoming tracks of the year. ’24-7′ sees vocalist Ego Ella May’s mellow tones join the delicious support of jazz nine-piece (a ‘nonet’, for the experts) Nubiyan Twist. Understandably, this may be an over-indulgent track for some not especially partial to wild saxophone solos, though the hushed intricacies in every layer of the track make it difficult to refuse its flourishing nature.

Deep Red Bells – Neko Case (2002)

Despite its dark lyrical theme, ‘Deep Red Bells’ is a strutting number of elegant extravagance, gorgeous cultivating Americana, country and folk to realise a sublime and fearless outcome. Case’s vocals accommodate all emotions experienced throughout, effortlessly swinging from soft swoons to a more authoritative, all-encompassing intonation characterised by a unique initiative and intensity. Despite holding two distinct sections, the track avoids all feelings of disjointedness or ill-consideration and instead demonstrates a care-free aptitude and ease.

Pulsewidth – Aphex Twin (1992)

A tune as elusive in definitive mood as it is constructively sophisticated, ‘Pulsewidth’ oozes an aura of subtle danceability while sustaining a more melancholic undertone throughout. It is a somewhat arduous effort to categorise this track, not in terms of genre or style but more in terms of its general mood and personality. Arguably stemming from its lyrical absence and contrasting tones of club and consideration, ‘Pulsewidth’ is able to shake off generic labels and identify itself with an illusory and deceptive spirit.

Garden Song – Phoebe Bridgers (2020)

Showcasing a nostalgia of endearing pacifism, ‘Garden Song’ is a gently picked number that enforces itself with its enigmatic passivity and absorbing stillness. All resonance is hushed, with the track relying on its natural purity to guide the listener in its drifting dormancy. There’s something to be said in the assuredness of the track – it’s unashamedly soft and lingers in inertia without a trace of doubt or guilt, culminating in a wondrously understated transcendence.

The Best Of The Fall [1984-89]

It’s Brix era proper, and probably the most difficult period to pick out only twelve songs from. As mentioned in the previous Best Of article, there are omissions of songs due to both the process of selecting songs and the fact that I have written about tracks in the past.

However, the five years covered here have been on the end of my inconsequential ramblings more extensively than any other period of The Fall. I have fully reviewed The Wonderful and Frightening World in my first stint of the blog, as well as the Michael Clark/Fall appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test and the 7″ ‘Jerusalem’ single.

So, before any accusations of me missing out ‘Lay of the Land’, ‘Slang King’, ‘Disney’s Dream Debased’ etc., I am fully aware of their wonderful-ness and their absence. All notable omissions (songs that I enjoy but don’t make the twelve) will be detailed at the end of the article.

A final note – it was brought to my attention by Steve from The Fall in Fives that I’d reviewed eleven tracks in the 1978-83 piece despite promising twelve. Let it be known I have counted this article’s selection about a million times to ensure journalistic integrity and skill, as well as counting capability.

c.r.e.e.p.

Certainly a contentious inclusion for most Fall fans, I imagine, though I’ve always enjoyed it hugely. I’d definitely heard it somewhere before my first proper listen as I found myself semi-humming along to it, but I think there’s a lot to love in this. Brix’s ‘kick you around like homogenised milk’ opening monologue, the delicate texturing and layering of the track, and Mark E’s more understated and considered execution of poetics. Of course, it’s a soft track by Fall standards and has never really seen the acclaim its contemporaries receive, but it’s never tired on me.

Clear Off!

Now, I promise the usually less memorable singles and B-sides are not being included due to a lack of availability from TWAFW, but because of my adoration for them. ‘Clear Off!’ is another gentle track, a demented yet endearing waltz complimented further by Gavin Friday’s strained and mournful ad-libs. Lines like ‘Goes over the hill / Goes killer civil servant’ maintain a lyrical Fall-ness which shows their enduring ability to be introspective without compromising any idiosyncrasy.

Pat-trip Dispenser

A different kettle of fish compared to its predecessors, yet a resounding success for the same reasons. What may seem like a thrown up mess of scraggly guitars, authoritative percussion and general disorganisation actually revels in its assured completeness. There isn’t a single addition of random sound (be it spoken or played) that is wasted – it’s an overawing Goliath of a track that beats you up and then kicks you while you’re down for good measure.

Bombast

It came to my realisation before writing this article that I’d never written about This Nation’s Saving Grace in any capacity whatsoever. Not even a mention of any track from it. Almost sinful, isn’t it?

So, here we go. ‘Bombast’. The coolest Fall song ever, I’d argue. Stupefying bassline, all-out power, but enough about it to know not to overbear the listening experience. It’s a cruiser with everything a Fall fan would want from a track. Even cooler (and cruisier, if you will…) is their rendition on The Tube – they look utterly fantastic, and sound even better.

Barmy

Despite my waxing lyrical, ‘Bombast’ – somehow – passed me by in my early listenings of TNSG. What really grabbed me was ‘Barmy’. I don’t think I took ‘Barmy’ very seriously at first, another one of those Fall tracks that stick with you for their witticism rather than their musicality. Though, inevitably, the musicality takes centre stage. The track owes a lot to its unrelenting nature, with its slow building texture shining a light on the maturity of the development and production of the track. Another side of its appeal is its refusal to actually finish. Every time it slows, it jumps back into life with something new to entice you further in, be it clinking high-pitched piano or a sinister and prolonged hit on the keyboard. Wonderful.

My New House

A deceptively swaggering track. Nothing changes for its duration, yet its appeal is infinite. The beat is insistent, with the contrast between Scanlan and Smith’s guitars providing a brooding, dark and subtly disorderly undertone. Meanwhile, Mark E’s frequently squealed ‘Seeeeeeeeee’ also adds an extra bit of sardonic urgency to proceedings. A mildly chaotic affair, yet it never fails to impress.

Paintwork (obviously)

A dreamy and hazy masterpiece that offers so much to love. It’s rare to come across a song in the discography that is as beautiful as it is plentiful in Fall uniqueness. It’s also difficult to pin down this track to any earthly label; for me, it sits in neither camp of happy or sad, forceful or soft, insistent or disinterested. It floats elegantly, and you nod along to its intricacy and embrace. That’s the best I can do in describing the listening experience of it. And, naturally, you always adore it.

Gross Chapel – British Grenadiers

An intensely oppressive track, ‘Gross Chapel’ is another track that really passed me by in early listenings of Bend Sinister. Hanley’s gently distorted bass takes rule with unforgiving authority, guiding the track through every avenue of sinister destruction. Mark E jumps from a yowling, fuzzed background feature to a calm overseer of proceedings in the latter stages of the track, all amongst the combative ferocity percussive slams from Wolstencroft.

U.S. 80’s – 90’s

One of my first ever ‘favourite’ Fall songs. I loved the line ‘It’s time for me to get off this crapper’ (which, because I’m a weirdo/obsessive, I sometimes use in my general jargon) and the insistent pace of backing during the verse. I think Bend Sinister could’ve been so much more had, well, Mark not been such a disruption during recording, and ‘U.S.’ personifies this feeling of ‘what could’ve been’ hugely, for me.

Terry Waite Sez

Easy post-punk listening. I will whole-heartedly concede that it’s not a standout of their discography at all, but there’s something irresistibly punk about it for me. It shares a similar vibe to ‘L.A.’ – it’s pacey, brash, and utterly uncaring. Plus, Brix’s shout midway through is a thoroughly excellent addition.

Bremen Nacht Alternative

There was difficulty in choosing between this and ‘Athlete Cured’ as The Frenz Experiment is, ultimately, quite a drab and underwhelming affair with little offering. ‘Bremen’ was chosen mainly because it’s nine minutes long, it never slows, and has something so odd yet enticing running through it. This is a quintessential showcasing of The Fall making everything out of very, very little, with the only notable development being a gloriously unstable and distorted guitar riff across the sixth and seventh minutes. I could listen to this for days were I more willing to obliterate my eardrums.

Dog Is Life/Jerusalem

I’ve written about this track before for my old ‘For The Record’ series of articles. I own the 7″ single of Jerusalem, which is much shorter, much less bass-y, and more lyrically thrown together (re the ‘fault of the Government’ section). I never felt I did the version I actually like justice. So why not write about it again?

This is The Fall. In every way, shape and form. A poem about Mark hating dogs and dog owners, unrelenting pace, a quirky, sardonic take on ‘Britishness’, a storming Hanley bassline, and utterly, utterly perfect lyrics. The best part of 9 minutes with no change in tone, velocity or intent. I think that without the left field, counter-cultural turn taken with I Am Kurious Oranj, the late 80s would have been a serious blemish on the band’s record. Yet, tracks like this undeniably prove their unstoppable effortlessness in constructing tracks of total industry and depth.

Notable Omissions

On completing the twelve I realised that I have utterly neglected I Am Kurious Oranj. However, I should probably state here that, while it doesn’t hold the best individual songs across the five years, the album as a whole is absolutely exceptional. Thus, the whole album is a notable omission 🙂

TWAFW: Lay of The Land, 2 x 4, Copped It, Elves, Stephen Song, Slang King, Disney’s Dream.

TNSG: What You Need, L.A., Spoilt Victorian Child, I Am Damo Suzuki

Bend Sinister: R.O.D, Dktr Faustus, Mr Pharmacist, Living Too Late

Frenz Exp.: Frenz, Athlete Cured, Guest Informant

Kurious: All of it.

Seminal Live: Squid Law

Non-Album: Vixen, Petty (Thief) Lout, Cruiser’s Creek, Entitled (closest to making it into the 12 of all individual songs listed), Hit The North,

‘It’s Monday’ Playlist (05/10/20)

Five more songs to absorb! Follow the Spotify playlist here for a weekly update of tunes direct to your account.

Sad Cowboy – Goat Girl (2020)

A real statement of intent from the South London quartet. Clottie Cream’s vocals descend in graceful haziness over a rough rock sound effortlessly integrated with an undercurrent of dreamy synth reminiscent of post-Currents Tame Impala. Leading the charge towards the release of their second studio album On All Fours in January, ‘Sad Cowboy’ showcases a huge progression in maturity and musicality in Goat Girl’s repertoire that strides beyond the three-minute-hit spirit of their eponymous debut without compromising their punk credentials.

Jumbo – Underworld (1999)

Combining dancefloor urgency and psychedelic romanticism, ‘Jumbo’ is an emotional yet understated number that seamlessly drifts between otherworldly abstraction and earthly existentialism. The listener is taken on a surreal journey starting with a conversation between two southern Americans about ‘“A little sale on a vest at Walmart”‘, before eventually finding a conclusion with a final reappearance of the anchoring beat drowned in swirling, elusively beautiful harmonies. While ‘Jumbo’ may not share the powerfully direct aura of some of its club-night contemporaries, it stands alone in its atmospheric offering.

Repetition – David Bowie (1978)

Bleak realism haunts every corner of ‘Repetition’, which details the oppressive domesticity of a psychologically abusive relationship with vacant sentimentalism. Underpinning the desolate being of the track is Bowie’s deadpan vocal delivery simutaenously supported by a persistently wobbly two-note bassline, providing a stark representation of the often unspoken and ignored consequences of reluctant romantic entanglements.

Sex Drive – Tricky (1996)

A track of glorious destruction and distortion, ‘Sex Drive’ is a reckless culmination of punk, industrial dance and dark electronica executed for maximum disorder. Harnessing the track with determined dedication lies a rampantly urgent bassline in wonderful disharmony with a combative snare-led groove. Tricky’s nearly whispered delivery also opens up another layer of textural intrigue and interest, culminating in a shamelessly ramshackle composition.

Whole New Mess – Angel Olsen (2020)

Hushed melancholia takes centre-stage in the gentleness of ‘Whole New Mess’. Though not a track of any particular power or imposition, its drifting and directionless nature is what personifies and promotes the track. Without enforcing itself onto the listener it is able to uphold its vitality and attraction through its irresistible calm and grace, never fading into the backdrop. Though a straightforward creation in arrangement and formula, Olsen has cultivated an independence in sound through a unique softness and tranquility rarely showcased elsewhere.

‘It’s Monday’ Playlist [28/09/20]

Follow the It’s Monday playlist on Spotify here for five new tracks every week!

Changeling – DJ Shadow (1996)

Calling back to and combining early 90s sounds of The Orb and Portishead, DJ Shadow’s 1996 album ‘Endtroducing…..’ is personified by an eccentric introversion that is rarely accessed as ably and powerfully by other artists of the time.

‘Changeling’ is a track of unease and simmering tension that, while tapping into darker tones, maintains an addictive character thanks to it’s looseness in arrangement and sparsity in sound. It offers hypnotic captivation and ethereal liberation in equal quantities, with each second of its seven-minute stint as vital as the next.

Island Song – U.S. Girls (2011)

While known for more danceable compositions in recent times, Meg Remy’s solo project U.S. Girls displayed effortless capability in creating more unnervingly harmonious tracks a decade ago.

‘Island Song’ is a child of Berlin-era Bowie, transporting the arresting sounds of ‘Warszawa’ to the 21st Century. The subtle fusion of melodic vocals and understated percussion rejuvenates such soundscapes without comprimising the influence of her artistic forefathers.

Y/o Dragon – Cross Record (2019)

Led by an imposing and all-powerful percussive stomp, ‘Y/o Dragon’ is a track of defiance and fragility. Vocalist Emily Cross’ presence is delicately poised throughout; at first the reluctant spearhead, she becomes the elusive overseer of her territory who floats elegantly across the beautifully destructive disarray left in her trail.

The lyrics also provide an additionally resistant dimension (“Watch me drag in / The space to move ahead / And climb a mountain / Keep climbing ’til I’m dead“), evidencing further the emotional tension and brutal realism the track so effortlessly brings.

Offence – Little Simz (2019)

An imperious and swaggering number, ‘Offence’ blends influences of Zamrock, jazz and East Coast rap to devastating effect. It grooves without being pastiche, asserts itself without overpowering, and attacks without losing composure. Every aspect of this song has been intricately and carefully constructed to optimal power and delicacy – a truly brilliant track.

Pendulum – Broadcast (2003)

In ‘Pendulum’, Broadcast demostrate their ability to mould throwback sounds to more jagged and disorderly ends. Departing from their usually more ethereal and dreamy sound, they deliver a punchy, synth-laden post-punk stunner while maintaining their unmistakable distinctiveness.

While Trish Keenan’s vocals standout for their chilling restraint, the unrelenting percussion is the real leader in ‘Pendulum’. Distorted and compressed to the max, they sustain an attitude of meticulous ferocity throughout.

The Best of The Fall [1978-83]

The return of the blog has led to the inevitable return of me writing about The Fall in more extensive devotion and detail than any other artist could dream of. Of course, The Fall in Fives/YMGTA blogs have somewhat rendered attempting to write about The Fall in any comprehension a task now obsolete, but still! I have the excuse of being the youngest Fall fan I know by a couple of decades, so there’s my USP :-).

This series is simply going to be a list of my favourite songs for every five years of The Fall. There will be some omissions as I’ve written plenty in the past about particular songs, but luckily the discography is so huge there’s another (approximately) 480 songs for me to choose from.

Early-age Fall is extremely hit-and-miss for me, particularly the first two records. Witch Trials and Dragnet, while holding some standout tracks, are a couple of the more forgettable releases of the repertoire and I don’t find myself going back to listen to them at all. This re-visit may spark a renewed interest, but I think this is an unlikely occurrence.

More likely is a warm re-welcoming of Grotesque and Hex, the first two Fall albums I listened to around three years ago, and I have neglected for quite a while. Other than the obligatory introduction to The Fall via ‘Mr Pharmacist’ or ‘Totally Wired’, ‘Pay Your Rates’ was my real entry into the Fall-o-sphere, opening a new realm of post-punk wonder to me.

For my previous Fall related ramblings, you can find all I’ve written via the Artist Index, and you can also follow my ‘Fall for The Fall’ playlist on Spotify here. 181 songs, chronologically arranged, and all wonderful. Eagle-eyed readeras will see that seven of the eight tracks on Perverted By Language make it onto the playlist, making this whittling down of tracks an even more difficult task for this post.

The songs listed are not exhaustive, but having had a relisten of the albums and related singles, these are the tunes that have always stood out to me. Notable omissions can be found at the end of the post.

Psycho Mafia

Is Mark actually saying any words? It’s hard to tell. But the force behind each shouted drawl is brilliantly urgent above the simple riff. Even better is the production of the vocals themselves, the echo encapsulating the song providing an extra hit of demented-ness. Minimal effort is given to the backing of the song – simply a recipe of grab a catchy hook and stick with it – and ‘Pyscho Mafia’ executes the formula wonderfully. The ‘outro’ (high pitched guitar strums lasting around 10 seconds) is a little bit lacking in extravagance of any sort, but I’m sure that’s the point. An excellent two-minute punk hit.

Rebellious Jukebox

This is, for me, probably the most ‘complete’ song on Witch Trials. I think Witch Trials suffers from two main flaws – firstly, the overdoing of the drums, and secondly, Mark trying a little to hard to stamp his authority on the ‘-ah’ sound ending on every word. ‘Jukebox’ seems to avoid these shortcomings, and Mark’s tone seems more emotional and more fitting than others on the album (I know this might not go down well with some of LATWT’s more ardent fans; I can only apologise). The result is a song that offers a sort of darkness that doesn’t overbear the listener while also maintaining a solid pace and bounce.

Psykick Dancehall

A brilliant track all round. There’s a greater assuredness compared to Witch Trials on Dragnet, and ‘Psykick’ is a central exhibit of this. Smith sounds more confident and a lot less gimmicky with his vocal tone, while the developments of song are more thought-through and inventive.

Printhead

One comment to make about Dragnet is that the quality of recording is, at times, extremely shoddy. While The Fall are grafted and heralded for their artistic carelessness and wilingness to leave rough edges rough, I feel that the songs do suffer. ‘Printhead’ is an excellent track – fast, powerful and pacey punk. This was a track that really, really grabbed me in my early listenings. It didn’t try too hard to be something, it was just genuine and shameless. I just wish the recording and production was less muffly and the sound of each instrument was a little more pronounced. Still though, an absolute stormer.

English Scheme

Better quality recording, better quality lyrics, better quality Fall. ‘English Scheme’ was the first Fall song I loved for it’s ‘Fall-ness’. I loved the line “The clever ones tend to emigrate / Like your psychotic big brother who left home“, the cheap sounding keyboard that Marc Riley insisted on being included, and the new speak-sing tone of Smith. In all honesty, I just thought it was a really funny song. Yet it’s still got enough urgency to it to nod your head along to, and is a truly memorable track.

The Container Drivers

A bouncing rockabilly beauty. The start of it is abrupt, swiftly following on from the more conservatively paced ‘C ‘n’ C-S Mithering’ (also a great track) without any prior warning with a machine-gun drum roll before entering into a rough 12-bar-blues number. It’s simple but effective, and holds enough idiosyncracy to detach itself from any inkling of being a standard blues track.

Prole Art Threat

Talking about machine gun drum rolls, have this one for two minutes straight. It shouldn’t work as a track, it should be utterly unlistenable (well, The Fall are to most), but this is such a powerful track. The descent into the main section midway into the song which sees all instrumental sections join fully is a triumphant moment of early Fall. I wish it went on for a tad longer, but that is not to take away from the sheer authroity of this track at all. A stupendous composition.

Jawbone and The Air-Rifle

I had a huge phase in my early Fall ventures of just listening to ‘The Classical’ and ‘Jawbone’ over and over and over, leaving the rest of Hex utterly neglected. The speed of this song is relentless, yet I find the more restrained singing from Smith and co. an excellent contradiction in sound between themselves and the instrumentation. Furthering my appreciation for this song was that, when playing this around 3 years ago, my Mum informed me that she, though not a Fall fan to any degree, loved this song and remembered my uncle listening to it a lot growing up. I had every excuse to play it however many times I liked after that. Play it I did, and play it I still do.

Hip Priest

As if my Mum wasn’t cool enough, upon hearing this track around the same period as ‘Jawbone’ she told me about ‘Hip Priest’ featuring in The Silence of the Lambs, and also regarded this as one of her favourite Fall tracks growing up. It took me a long time to appreicate this track – I think I found it discomforting and a little dreary. Like any Fall track you have an issue with, however, you realise that the inaccessibility is the reason why you’re listening in the first place and the reason why you’ll inevitably fall in love with the track, no matter how long it takes.

It’s a creeping, lurking number, invading the space with a sinister disregard for any innocence. When you think it’s going to get you with a ‘Hip, hip, hip, hip’ it quickly hides again. Once it does get going, however, it’s inescapably brilliant. The guitars are gloriously ramshackle, and Hanley’s bass dances freely in the chaos. A quintessential number.

Neighbourhood of Infinity

An all-time favourite of mine, ‘Neighbourhood’ is made by the two-drummer line up, utilised with devastating effect for the duration of the track. On top of this lies Smith’s emotionless rambling, which moves in and out of the backing seamlessly. My one and only criticism of this song is that it doesn’t go on long enough at all, even with ‘Eat Y’self’ and ‘Garden’ on either side of the track listing.

I Feel Voxish

For me, this song is the most clear evidence of The Fall as a crusing, confident and careless band. Perverted By Language seems like a crystallisation of five years’ work in the studio to achieve the ‘Fall Sound’ (if you will) before Brix’s steering to new domains, and ‘I Feel Voxish’ is the centrepiece. The guitar riff is weird and ill-fitting for normal ears, but the way it works itself into place alongside the grooving bassline is magnificent, while the insistence of the drum track to not change *a bit* adds to the aforementioned carelessness of ’83 Fall. Solid.

Notable Omissions

This section will exist on every article of this series. Obviously, a selection of 12 songs over five years will not cater to everyone’s needs (including my own), but having written about many before and also liking too many to be able to mention properly, this section is the natural compromise.

Witch Trials: Frightened, Industrial Estate, Two Steps Back, Music Scene.

Dragnet: Your Heart Out, Spectre vs Rector

Grotesque: Pay Your Rates, New Face In Hell, C ‘n’ C-S, In The Park, NWRA.

Slates: Middle Mass, Fit and Working Again, Leave The Capitol.

Hex: Every other track.

Perverted By Language: Every other track. Best Fall album.

Non-album: Bingo Master, Repetition, Rowche Rumble, Fiery Jack, Elastic Man, Totally Wired, Fantastic Life, Wings, Ludd Gang, Kicker Conspiracy.

The It’s Monday Playlist [21/09/20]

The weekly It’s Monday playlist on Spotify can be accessed here. Follow it for 5 new tracks to start your week!

Good Fortune – PJ Harvey (2000)

Putting romance and post-punk in militant embrace with each other, ‘Good Fortune’ leads a line of cruising confidence. Chronicling Harvey’s amorous escapades across New York, it offers both a tender narrative and punk brashness in equal proportion.

Though, in isolation, the lyrics seem more at home in a sickly-sweet ballad (“I paint pictures / To remember / You’re too beautiful / To put into words”) Harvey is able to expertly mould them to fit her styling. The force put behind each iteration exudes the passion felt for both the song and her past infatuations, leaving behind a song of joyful reminiscence and infallible presence.

Man Out Of Time – Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1982)

Lust, despair and scandal headline in a powerful decrying of decadence and moral impunity. The lyrics are biting, (“He’s got a mind like a sewer and heart like a fridge / He stands to be insulted and he pays for the privilege”) and the air of grandeur of the story’s characters is juxtaposed effortlessly by the echoey nature of Costello’s croons, sounding as if he were recorded in a smoky late-night bar.

Man Out Of Time’ is a track of artistic maturity and astute observation, highlighting Costello’s skill in arrangement and pertinent lyricism.

pink diamond – Charli XCX (2020)

A antagonistic anthem for the lockdown age, ‘pink diamond’ laments the state of enforced inertia placed on the socialising masses in shameless brutality. Though the backing owes itself somewhat to the unforgiving percussion led sounds of the likes of Crystal Castles and Death Grips, XCX’s teenage tone opens an arrogant and urgent dimension for the song (“Lip gloss on and I’m lookin’ like a star / Got a tiny bag but I got a big heart”).

Certainly, ‘pink diamond’ may not cater to all experiences of isolation – or all musical tastes – but its powerfully sinister sparsity is undeniably invasive.

Enjoy – Björk (1995)

Despite being known more for exuberant quirkiness, ‘Enjoy’ showcases a darker and more unsettling side to Björk’s repertoire. The soundscape is disconcertingly gloomy, Björk’s usually innocent resonance is now a depressing echo, and her words speak of dysfunction and romantic complication (“I wish I only love you / I wish simplicity”).

The enduring appeal of ‘Enjoy’ comes from the masterfully crafted and textured electronica that fronts the act. Though not as destructive as ‘Army of Me’, the instrumentation of ‘Enjoy’ still holds a subtle authority throughout.

Surmount All Obstacles – The Fall (1994)

Littered with Mark E Smith’s ever-distinctive poetics (“His face is full of ex-ex-ex-ex-cruelty”) with added dives into experimentation of aural distortion and manipulation, ‘Surmount All Obstacles’ provides a curiously engrossing listening experience

Anchored by an infectious four note bassline, ‘Surmount’ exhibits one of The Fall’s more successful rock-dance crossovers within their 90s output. It’s a frantic number that doesn’t let up in its energetic delivery or tight production, and still maintains their consistent independence in sound.

The ‘It’s Monday’ Playlist [14/09/20]

As part of the promised diversification of content in my previous post, these weekly articles will document the songs and artists I’ve been listening to during my time away from the blog.

Despite a meticulous brainstorming session with my housemate as to what to call this series, I’ve taken the executive decision to disregard her suggestions (much better than mine) to name this series ‘It’s Monday’. Clever? Not really. Considered? Nope. But, a reference to David Bowie’s 1977 stormer ‘Joe The Lion’? Absolutely, so it will stay.

Published at the start of every week, these posts will provide five songs to discover (or re-discover) and indulge in. For those who’d like this on Spotify, a playlist is available to follow at the bottom.

Mad Tom of Bedlam – Jolie Holland

A free, bouncing percussion-led composition, ‘Mad Tom of Bedlam’ offers a unique exploration into aural sparsity and vulnerability. While Holland’s vocals provide little in straight and narrow-ness, they offer a simultaneously elegant and punchy follower to the captivating accompaniment.

Successfully executed experiments of this sort are difficult to find, yet Holland strikes an excellent balance of power between herself and the liberalism of her drumming accompaniment. Cultivating a sound not dissimilar to Fiona Apple’s 2020 LP Fetch The Bolt Cutters, ‘Mad Tom’ is a wonderful offering from an artist much more accustomed to somber and heartfelt blues than buoyant idiosyncrasy.

Just Like Arcadia – Psychic TV (1988)

Accessibility isn’t a term often thrown at Psychic TV, or their original incarnation Throbbing Gristle. Specialising in the creepy and unsettling, their songs can range from beautifully constructed structures of divinity to a child singing over a Casio keyboard for two minutes (not as successful a combination as Jolie Holland and her percussive friend).

Still, there are morsels of forgiveness across their discography, and ‘Just Like Arcadia’ is one of these. A peculiarly danceable ear worm directed by a catchy hand-clap and three note bass line, it’s hard to resist the impulse to tap or nod your head along. Genesis P-Orridge’s deadpan, single-toned expressionism offers an oddly fitting contradiction to the softness of the lyrics (“If you could understand / You would take my hand / and I would spread so far / Just like Arcadia”).

In ‘Just Like Arcadia’, Psychic TV demonstrate their ability in crafting easy, uplifting tunes alongside their more challenging output.

Alpha Venom – Sophie Hunger (2020)

Released only a couple of weeks ago, Sophie Hunger’s triumphantly defiant ‘Alpha Venom’ is a brilliantly powerful three minute hit of synth delirium. It’s an unrelenting powerhouse which seamlessly emancipates itself from fierce anger into rebellious delicacy from verse to chorus.

She stands her ground against a fierce adversary as she reminds them “Don’t forget who makes the music”, later becoming “I’m the one who makes the music” in the final throws of the song. Whatever war Hunger may be fighting, ‘Alpha Venom’ is the omnipotent weapon of choice. It devastates in its shameless confidence, and is never easily forgotten.

Wrong – Everything But The Girl (1996)

While Everything But The Girl (EBTG) were somewhat late in announcing themselves to the 90s club scene, they were certainly efficient in making up for lost time. ‘Wrong’, the lead single from their tenth album Walking Wounded, is essentially a simple track – dominant percussion ahead of a stylish riff, spearheaded expertly by the gentle vocals of lead singer Tracey Thorn.

However, ‘Wrong’ is a masterful coalescence of the lyrical themes of EBTG’s earlier releases and the infectious sounds of the club scene, without compromising either component. This track is a mover but is still an emotional tale, owing to its main lyrical hook, ‘Wherever you go I will follow you / Cos I was wrong’. This gives the song a vital, tragic romanticism, leading to a composition able to not only stand alone from the others, but also be utterly addictive.

The Belldog – Eno Moebius Roedelius (1978)

A swirling, directionless masterpiece, ‘The Belldog’ is an essential Brian Eno composition. Crafted alongside the duo Cluster, it holds a reminiscence to Eno’s earlier work ‘Another Green World’ in its lack of specific destination. Descending pianos amongst a fuzzy synthesiser riff create a soundscape of dreamy haziness, you could almost float in its magnificence.

Eno beautifully serenades his creation, setting the scene in industrial bleakness (‘Most of the day / We were at the machinery / In the dark sheds / That the seasons ignored’) before escaping into an irresistible back-drop of night (‘And the light disappears / As the world makes its circle through the sky’). The song is stunningly awe-inspiring, sounding decades ahead of 2020, let alone of 1978.

Musical Epiphanies #7 – Faith – The Cure

The sun is shining (where I am anyway), everyone is t-shirt and shorts clad, and it’s been way too long since I’ve written an article. So, what better to do than write about one of the most depressing records of all time to bring everyone reading back down to earth and remind them of our nation’s slow demise into nothingness?

Whatever your view on Brexit, the EU or Boris Johnson’s ever-receding hairline, these are extremely unpredictable yet utterly dull times. Turn on the news, and you’ll get one headline, with the same commentary that’s been relentlessly supplied for the last three years. Did anyone notice the cyclone in Africa? Probably not*. We’re all too bored and fatigued in our own indifference to take notice of anything else anymore, nor are we allowed to take notice of other events.

*Donate to the aid effort here if you can

We are miserable and everything is glum. If only there were a record to aptly sum up the absolute mundanity of it all. If only!

Step back 38 years and enter 1981, the second full year of Thatcher’s reign. After the release of Seventeen Seconds the previous year, it seemed The Cure were no where near finished with their exploits in ethereal elegance, nor with their descent into gothic gloominess. While Seventeen was a dip in the pool of darkness, Faith would be one of the defining moments of goth.

I was 15 when I first listened to this record. A family friend had been pushing me to listen to it as I was on a bit of a Cure phase, though only the happy-sad-lovely hits of the late 1980s. I must admit I expected the same kind of vibes as Three Imaginary Boys, punk with a twist of pop which wasn’t a particular challenge to listen to.

First, I saw the cover of Faith. It’s quite literally 50 Shades of Grey without any of the eroticism (Disclaimer: I’m yet to see or read 50 Shades, and I think this will remain for a while). In terms of album covers that weren’t manufactured to catch your eye with colour and vibrancy, this ranks up there with the most monotonous of them all.

Yet it is a wonderfully fitting preview of what is to come. And the more you look at it, the more you’re kind of dragged into its utter misery. What looks to me like a vague outline of a church with a smattering of angular, dead-looking grass, it’s simply magnificent in its minimalism. Even the writing of ‘faith’ has an aura of total indifference.

Writing this article has made me listen to this album for the first time in ages, and there’s no sweeter welcome back than the throbbing bassline of album opener ‘The Holy Hour’. It ascends and descends wonderfully, before it’s joined by a simple drum groove and gloomy organ line. With a crash, Smith’s guitar enters the fray with crisp chords, and we’re in full motion.

‘I kneel / And wait in silence / As one by one more people slip away’. How’s that for opening lines? The lyrics become more and more gloomy, and Smith’s voice, as ever, is in an absolute league of its own.

Even the bridge, with the high pitched guitar line is simply brilliant. Following this comes the closing lines ‘I cannot hold what you devour / The sacrifice of penance / in The Holy Hour’. The bassline continues valiantly, carrying the tune along with total control and ease, rising and falling majestically before a final hit of the drums, and a weird cross between synth and church bells signals the end of the beginning of a classic record.

With a few dry cuts of strings, in races ‘Primary’, consisting solely of two bass guitars (one high, one low), drums and Smith’s urgent vocals. This has always been one I’ve continuously overlooked and dismissed as a duff track, even as the lead single. But this revisit is teaching me a lesson. The rumble of the battling basslines is irresistible, and the track is a whole is a fantastic doff-of-the-cap to the punk movement, yet made more eloquent, refined and experimental. In all, a stand out moment in the early years of The Cure.

The way the album flows between tracks is something I’ve just noticed, and is marvellous. The gentle fade into ‘Other Voices’ and the ever-powerful Simon Gallup bass introduces the song brilliantly, with Smith now basically shouting down the mic with gentle fuzzy fade outs after each line. As a track, this is one that’s pretty good. To me, as long as the track makes you nod your head along, it’ll do, and I think the nod-ability (if you will) is a motif of the album as a whole. One review states of the album that ‘you may not love it, but you’ll be addicted’, and I think ‘Other Voices’ fits this description nicely.

A few hits of the drums more, and an abrupt end brings the track to a close.

Now we have one of the defining moments of The Cure’s releases. A repeating drum groove (not dissimilar in style to ‘Atrocity Exhibition’) brings us into ‘All Cats Are Grey’, one of the most miserable and destitute songs ever made. Led by an organ riff that invades every corner of the room with overbearing yet gentle force, Smith gently serenades ‘I never thought that I would find myself / In bed amongst the stones’, blending into the onslaught of atmosphere wonderfully. As far as poeticism goes, I don’t think Smith reaches many heights greater than the ones he does on Faith, which is an unrelenting barrage of lyrical and expressive beauty.

A haunting, solo piano line brings it to a close, and what follows is one of my favourite tracks of all time.

The synth-o-meter is whacked up to a thousand, with a fuzzy and warm chord sequence leading the tune into full charge. The bassline is infectious, as is Smith:

‘Two pale figures ache in silence / Timeless in the quiet ground / Side by side in ancient sadness’

‘The Funeral Party’ is, as you may have guessed, so utterly funereal and so utterly stunning. If melancholy needed a theme tune, this would be it. When I first heard this song in my dimly-lit room, I just sat in total awe of what was emanating out of the speakers. Everything about this song is wonderful. Joyously brilliant.

Smith continues ‘Memories of children’s dreams / Lie lifeless, fading, lifeless’. I think the contradiction between the innocence and – dare I say – happiness of the instrumental compared to the sadness of the lyrics is utterly spellbinding. The song drifts gently, swaying without worry before gently disappearing into the distance. Wonderful.

‘Doubt’ bursts in out of no where, catching the complacently relaxed listener off guard. I’ve always hated the fact they put this slab of rough aural assault after such the beauty of ‘The Funeral Party’, and it’s another song I’ve always dismissed, but again I have to confess that I am loving it. It’s got something a bit more sinister and ominous compared to its similarly speedy contemporary ‘Primary’, and Smith’s voice seems to have a childish carelessness unseen on other tracks. Another stunner.

‘The Drowning Man’ starts absolutely brilliantly. Keyboard handclaps are extremely hit-and-miss with me, but combined with the creeping guitar line which grows louder and louder, it’s a brutish but brilliant combination. Smith’s vocals are basically one long, drawn-out drone at this stage, but still work with the backing effortlessly. God, it’s gloomy. This is a track I never ever listen to. Not out of dislike, just out of general ignorance and forgetfulness, but I never remember it being so deathly. It is glorious, mind you.

And after a slow, whirring fade out and four taps of the drumsticks, we are welcomed by the creeping, ever-growing and always wonderful closing track, ‘Faith’. The guitar line, despite revolving around about five notes, always seems to find a way to evolve and develop. Moving up an octave just before the two-minute mark, it continues this exploration of minimal bliss, before Smith joins in with eerie semi-croons, ‘Catch me if I fall / I’m losing hold / I can’t just carry on this way’.

Even this song is surprising me regarding its darkness. I can’t imagine recording this album being a fruitful adventure of emotions or a celebratory process, just a slow descent into complete misery. To close with this six minute stunner is undeniably apt, however. I love the constant repetition of the line ‘but nothing ever changed’, slowly disappearing in the haze of the bass and guitar lines, a mystifying final goodbye from Smith, which returns in the final minute of the song with more urgency and anger, and the single guitar line just after we reach six minutes is indisputably superb.

Heavy drums and ghostly Smith vocals bring the song to a slowing, lethargic end. Eight songs, thirty-six minutes and fifty-six seconds of absolute miserable joy.

Much like my exploits with Joy Division, I held many school friends hostage with this album. ‘Listen to the bassline!’ I’d say to them about ‘The Holy Hour’, but, as ever, worries for my mental state and happiness seemed paramount with others. I mean, I don’t at all blame them, but at least try the music!

Still, this was the moment when I realised goth was for me. I utterly adore the album as a whole – there are certainly tracks that aren’t as strong as others, but as a whole package it’s an absolute masterpiece, and another album which I feel is so overlooked by punk commentators. This record also led me on a journey into darker pastures; my discovery of Siouxsie and The Banshees’ Juju and the fantastic Only Theatre of Pain by Christian Death.

What we have here is a defining record that altered my musical adventures forever, and began my exploration into avenues of melancholy, gloom and beauty.

For The Record #9 – Offshore Banking Business / Hit The North / Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy

I’ve lately been trying to diversify the artists I’ve written about, and this article brings two who I’m yet to write about. These records were chosen while back at home in London and are some of my favourite in my collection.

Offshore Banking Business B/W Solitary Confinement – The Members

The Members have never been a band I’ve ever raves about or held any particular affinity to. I have found, however, that ‘Sound Of The Suburbs’ (introduced to me by Punk Britannia at the BBC) aptly summed up many parts of my time growing up in suburbia with ‘Heathrow jets crashing over our homes’ and sitting in a dark room playing guitar, separated from the world around me.

I also have a soft spot for Nicky Tesco after I found out he starred in one of my favourite films ‘I Hired A Contract Killer’, in which Joe Strummer played his stunning ‘Burning Lights’. It wasn’t the best dramatic performance, but it’s a nice bit of niche punk history for anyone as geeky as me!

Anyway, ‘Offshore’ is a swipe at tax havens in far away lands, with ‘international crime happening all the time’. It saddens me to say this song has aged very well, and will probably remain a strong piece of social commentary for years to come too.

I remember having a listen to this during the news of our beloved David Cameron revealing his profiting from his Father’s offshore tax fund after the release of the Panama Papers, and I haven’t touched it since. As nerdy as this sounds, I’m a politics student who doesn’t hold much love for Dave, so this was a moment of superficial punk redemption (he did remain in power, after all).

Starting with a solid reggae beat, we’re joined by a stunning bass and trumpet riff, before Tesco joins with some brilliantly sardonic lines about rich people who ‘do more than growing bananas / they got a tax dodge going on’. So great. About 30 seconds in and I’m already kicking myself for neglecting this classic for so long.

The beat is infectious, the vocal delivery impeccable and the whole composition is as intricate as it gets. To release this after the success of punk staple ‘Sound Of The Suburbs’ is such a brave move, but who can blame them if they’re bringing out songs as good as this?!

Tesco continues, taking aim at the ‘Newspaper barons and oil tycoons watching their money grow’ before a final return to the chorus. It pains me to say that on the final rounds of the repeated ‘Offshore Banking Business’ line, my single cracks and repeats infinitely, bringing a never ending that reminds me of all the activities of the rich and powerful, and how powerless I am to stop them. Such sadness!

All in all, a fantastic listen, and one that I’m probably going to be playing for a long time from here on.

‘Solitary Confinement’ is much more representative of the general Members sound. Kicking off with an abrupt ‘You! Are living in the suburbs’ backed with a chugging low guitar line, it grows in stature and powers into the bridge.

I love the spoken word part, a slightly stupid sounding shire boy who’s so simple in his perception of his life and life in the city, innocently losing all purpose and friends because of his move to the city. ‘The Members, are gonna tell ya / What it’s like to be / On your own, by yourself’, and they do. The subject of the song is actually quite sad and desperate, but the musical delivery makes it more of a danceable punk song than anything else. It’s an extremely strong song, ending with the line ‘Solitary confinement, you’re so lonely’. How about that then?

In all, a fantastic single by a band perhaps overlooked by many, including myself.

A Side: 4.5/5   B-Side: 4/5   Sleeve: 4/5

Hit The North Part 1 B/W Hit The North Part 2 – The Fall

A classic number from Manchester’s finest.

Charting at #57 (which, despite its modesty, was their then-highest charting self-penned single) it stemmed from, according to Steve Hanley’s The Big Midweek, Mark E. Smith’s dislike of Norwich, and his desire to, you guessed it, ‘hit the North’. And with a Simon Rodgers crafted instrumental, a masterpiece was born.

STarting with a low, cutting bass sound, Wolstencroft joins with a punchy groove, and in comes the iconic two note riff joined by the infectious chant of ‘Hit The North!’. What follows is probably not worth much anlysis, more just distant admiration and confusion. From my first listen of the song, I’ve always found Smith’s announcement that his ‘cat says eeeeeeeee-ack’ absolutely absurd and absolutely brilliant. I guarantee you wouldn’t find this anywhere else.

I also love the line ‘Cops can’t catch criminals’, the way it dreamily floats around the song with the powerful groove and synth-sax hits. And then the ascent back into the chorus is simply irresistible.

The star of the show for me is the high-pitched, triumphant guitar line that comes in during the closing verse. It’s absolutely stunning.

I love this song, though I never give it the time of day. Luckily, if you have the time of day, The Fall have managed to record six (!) versions of the song. And ‘Part Two’ is the b-side of the 7″ single.

It’s a lottle more stripped back, less effects and more power. It starts with a more complete drum groove and we rejoin the iconic riff again. The recording is a little bit sparse, but I must admit I quite enjoy the less-produced recording. It has a bit more toughness and edge.

However, I’m afraid I’ve never been a big fan of remixes making up B-sides unless there’s a clear and obvious variation on the song (like ‘Soldier and Police War’, B-side to ‘Police and Thieves’). I find placing a demo as the back up to a single a little bit lazy, and, as much as I like the song, it doesn’t really thrill me at all.

Still – the A-side is more than worthy of total acclaim and adoration, and it will forever be an era-defining single.

A-Side: 4.5/5   B-Side: 3/5   Sleeve: 4/5

Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy – Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg has always been a massive favourite of mine, to such an extent that I’m toying around with the idea of writing a sociology essay on the role of the media about his fantastic ‘It Says Here’. And they say punk is dead!!

Of course, it’s a lot easier to like Billy Bragg if you align with him politically. Luckily, I find myself more than hospitable to his political commentary and his general disapproval of all things right of social democracy and all things coloured blue (in the British context, obviously).

His debut abum, Life’s A Riot is a lot less overt in its political messaging compared to the following releases Brewing Up With and Talking With The Taxman About Poetry, but is still quintessential Billy Bragg. Though, sociological and political punch still lies in tracks such as ‘To Have and Have Not’ and ‘The Busy Girl Buys Beauty’, which are both stunning, but we will visit them later.

The first point of discussion is the length of the album. Seven tracks, on the face of it, seems a little short, but we’ve seen shorter albums in terms of the number of tracks, take David Bowie’s six track (and best, in my opinion) album Station To Station, for example. However, the title track on Station To Station is over half the length of Bragg’s entire album.

The longest track is two minutes and fifty-one seconds, and the whole album clocks in at fifteen minutes and fifty-seven seconds. Bragg being Bragg, really.

The albums kicks off with an absolute stunner. In any other song the lyrics would be cheesy and cringey, but there’s something so endearing and innocent in the way Bragg sings the words of ‘The Milkman of Human Kindness’. The guitar is excellent, urgent and fast but fittingly complimenting of the more drawn out, conservatively delivered lyrics. I think this song showcases the brilliance of the raw recording of Bragg and his guitar, and is an excellent preview into what is to come. A fantastic introduction to the LP.

Track two is the closest thing to a promotion of communism (rather than socialism) that Bragg has ever achieved, in my opinion. It is also one of my favourite political songs of all time. Starting with a jaunty, cutting chord sequence, Bragg joins in with a tirade of criticism towards the function of the education system, one of my favourite lines being ‘Qualifications what’s the golden rule? / Are now just pieces of pay-pah’.

I’ll have to bring up my degree again. The role of the education system is something I have always had a great passion in writing about and researching, so to hear one of my favourite artists slagging off the institution is simply magnificent. Again, enjoyment comes from the fact I agree with him too, which will always be a deciding factor in any Bragg listening.

‘All they taught you at school / Was how to be a good worker’ is another line that just fires me up so much (I’m a huge nerd, I know…), and overall the song is simply brilliant.

‘Richard’ has never been a song that’s ever stood out for me. Listening to it again, it is still a top quality song (as nearly every track on the album is) but it’s still not doing much for me. I think I’m a lot more sympathetic to Bragg songs which are either about politics or love (‘The Saturday Boy’ and ‘Between The Wars’ have always been favourites), so tracks like ‘Richard’ have never sat highly in my standings. Still, it’s a good enough track.

And then Side 2 opens with the classic, iconic and utterly brilliant ‘A New England’. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’m going to say anything that hasn’t been said before – the lyrics are sublime, the angst of the guitar is so powerful, and the whole composition is a thing of sheer class. I’ll let you sample it for yourself here…

‘The Man In The Iron Mask’ just isn’t really my sort of thing. It’s one I’ve always skipped, and one where I’ve found Bragg’s voice actually hasn’t done any favours to the subtlety of the song. Apologies, Bragg lovers, this one will never be my cup of tea.

But, worry not, ‘The Busy Girl Buys Beauty’ is definitely one that appeals to me a lot more. It’s, in its simplest form, Bragg slagging off the idea of traditional gender roles (‘Where she can learn / Top tips for the gas cook’), the beauty and fashion industry and the idealistic perception of the always happy always smiling nuclear family. Admittedly, it’s a sociology student’s dream, and it’s an absolutely brilliant song that I feel doesn’t get enough praise.

And, after only fourteen minutes, we reach the closing track, ‘Lovers Town Revisited’. A nice, slightly slower song with Bragg sounding absolutely fantastic. It’s a bit more solemn too, and the eruption of the crackly guitar against Bragg’s voice is brilliant. It’s only one minute and eighteen seconds long, and it makes you want more from Bragg. As a closer though, it’s simply superb.

As a whole, it’s fifteen minutes of brilliance, of raw and untouched class. The innocence and vulnerability of both the recordings and Bragg’s voice are vital in the development and creation of one of the finest debut albums we will ever see. And, considering it’s short length, it should be held up as a lesson in minimalist bliss.

Side One: 4.5/5 Side Two: 4.5/5 Sleeve: 4/5