Perfect Sound Forever

The Fall I Am Kurious Oranj

Jason Gross
(May 1998)

As Chuck Eddy noted, not too many scores for ballet companies toast William of Orange, let alone have it done for them by the Fall. Oddly enough, that's exactly what happened with Michael Clarke's dance troop when the band performed live with them for their tour. More strange is that this one of the the group's most consistent sets. With the Fall though, this is a mixed blessing as one of their enduring qualities is all the weird shit that hits you when you least expect it in always surprising and new ways.

This start off with "Hip Priest," revived from Hex Enduction Hour as "New Big Prinz," now a stomping, shout-along where Mark yells 'check the record, check the record, check the guy's track record!' (who's he talking about here, eh?). Brix weighs in with a majestic theme song which has her mewling out the title(s)- must have been fun to see the dancers leaping and prancing around to this. Mark takes a page from William Blake and launches into "Jerasalum," one of the band's best rock tunes ever, starting with a stammering beat then steading into a strident, driving rhythm where Mark casts some aspertions on the government and the people who want to milk it for cash. When I saw the band do this live around '89/'90, me and my friends were inspired to dance around like an Indian tribe, attracting more attention than the band for a while! For some reason, I've literally fallen asleep twice while listening to "Kurious Oranj," which is a shame as it's a funny toast to the 'hero' as he makes 'Hitler laugh in pain' and 'paved the way for the atom bomb' (as if you'd expect a reverant tribute from the Fall) all to a choppy reggae beat. The first side closes with a sharp stomper and another good shout-along "Wrong Place, Right Time" which actually has a nice cello-like passage smack in the middle.

The second side starts out with a weird kind of remix of everything we've heard before with "Win Fall CD 2088 AD.". After that, we hear the relatively civilized "Van Plague" and "Yes Oh Yes." "Bad News Girl" is one of my favorites here as it starts out slow and mournful then revs up at the end with what sounds like a toy piano jingling around. "Cab It Up" ends things off by stealing the opening lick from the Stooges "T.V. Eye" and making another solid rocker from the crew.

Though I like the album a lot, I don't exactly trust it as a Fall album. Other than "Win Fall" there's no real nutters here and that's exactly the kind of thing that's always made the band interesting and compelling. Still, if you're willing to suspend your disbelief that one of their records can be pretty consistent with good songs, this is a fine piece of work. Never figured out what the connection was with the film I AM CURIOUS YELLOW though.

See the other items in our Fall discography review

Also see our Fall tribute

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