Perfect Sound Forever

The Fall The Legendary Chaos Tape

Scott McFarland
(May 1998)


This comes from a Fall gig at Acklam Hall in London, 1980. If the photo on the interior is to be believed, the band was Smith, Scanlon, Riley, and the Hanley brothers (sounds that way to me). The gig was aparently recorded by Grant Showbiz (my personal theory on Mr. Showbiz' identity is that he is David Bowie). You can tell what this 59:08 presentation of music will sound like just from looking at the song titles - the set list is peppered mostly with material from Grotesque and from the Slates EP - and darn if that isn't what it sounds like. Most of the tracks on here kicked major ass in their definitive incarnation, and kick ass as live tracks too. The material has that unique sideways-rhythmic feel to it that the Fall have posessed when they're at their best, when Mark Smith sounds like a genius bastard offspring of Lou Reed and Captain Beefheart. This is a damn sight further into prime-grade Fall-ism than the Live Totale's Turns LP which featured (at least most of) the same personnel. Quite frankly everything on here is sloppy and everything on here is brilliant. Best of all are a 7-minute "New Face In Hell" (you just knew that it would be), a 9:48 version of "Spectre versus Rector" which explores itself to the fullest, and a "Pay Your Rates" which finds Smith particularly animated vocally. If you don't have the studio material from this time frame, and you're interested in the possibilities of noise and rock, then you need to get this. And if you do have the studio material, then you'll undoubtably enjoy hearing some of the most outstanding of their tracks from this time frame live, and you need to get this. An extra bonus is that many of Smith's lyrics are more audible than they were on the LP's- he seems to want the audience to be able to understand what he's singing. A great document of an important and inimitable band. Forget Nirvana and all of this grunge and post-grunge crap- this is the real stuff, offhandedly brilliant. On a scale of 10, I give this a 10.

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