The Fall I Am Kurious Oranj
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So, how to shake things up, how to make life interesting? Why, record the music for a ballet of course. I mean, what else are you gonna do? One thing it did do was give The Fall an actual reason to record an album, other than out of habit. As a result, although not everything here works, a good half of it works magnificently, and the rest is never less than interesting. 'New Big Prinz' opens the whole shebang and The Fall sound more wired and alive than they had for a good couple of years, at least. A couple of years for The Fall being a long time, you understand. 'Big New Prinz' is stomping, storming, hand-clapping, the works. Mark E Smith sings and shouts, the guitar is catchy as the catchiest thing ever, and there you have it. A winner. The 'Overture' is a solo Brix tune, sung by her as well. It's a very pretty guitar tune, pretty of course not being a usual Fall descriptive word, but then, this isn't a usual Fall LP. 'Dog Is Life' marries William Blake and Mark E Smith in a seemingly bizarre coupling but it works fantastically well. First of all we have Mark E Smith spitting out the 'Dog Is Life' rant after which 'Jerusalem' announces itself with strong drums and deep bass notes. When the guitar comes in, when Mark E Smith starts singing, you realise this is a close cousin to the opening 'Big New Prinz'. In actual fact, together with 'Big New Prinz' and 'Wrong Place, Right Time', 'Jerusalem' was issued as part of a three song EP by the group. All three of these songs are great, but 'Jerusalem' is particularly entertaining for the lyrical content when Mark E Smith starts to get all political on us. 'Kurious Oranj' deserves a special mention. It's a song that's been known to disgust non Fall lovers I've played it to, though I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because the lyrics are completely daft and make no sense whatsoever. Perhaps it's because of the simplistic bass groove. It's an addictive bass groove though, once you get into it. It's a 'humorous' bass groove in line with the 'daft' nature of the song in the first place. Well, for all I know, the lyrics are dead meaningful. The end result is just sheer entertainment however, and that's alright by me. We have a number of softer, sweeter guitar songs on the second half of this record. 'Guide Me Soft' is a single exposed guitar with bare percussion and Mark E Smith half singing / half speaking. 'Yes O Yes' is the kind of song that wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'Bend Sinister' but it also shares the grinding, repetitive nature of certain songs from 'The Frenz Experiment'. 'Yes O Yes' isn't particular a highlight here but it works in context. 'Van Plague?' on the other hand just works, full stop. A greatly underrated Fall song, it's not often spoken of by fans but this is one of the sweetest Fall songs I can think of and also one of the best 'straight' Mark E Smith vocal performances. 'Bad News Girl' isn't particularly noteworthy being a tuneless dirge, 'Last Nacht' is a lively dance experiment and the closing 'Big New Priest' merely an alternative mix of the albums opening cut. I'll mention 'Cab It Up!' as well. 'Cab It Up!' isn't original, the melody is obvious and goes round and round. It's a lively track though, and Mark E Smith is particularly lively vocally. When he shouts out 'cabbing it uptown, UPTOWN!' it's a great Fall moment, for me at least. And, there you have it. 'I Am Kurious Oranj'. Difficult to come to a definite conclusion about the whole thing, other than it's entertaining. But, entertaining is good.