Perfect Sound Forever

The Fall Live to Air in Melbourne 1982

Al Spicer
(May 1998)

(Live 1982 - The Sleevenotes...rough draft in which Mark E smith takes his dyspeptic global view half-way around the world to torment fresh meat.)

It's a bloody long way from Manchester to Melbourne but venom travels well. Right from the start, as the weirdest new band on the block back in the early days of punk, The Fall's righteous maelstrom has roped in eager malcontents to join their celebration of the world's failings. They grew into a powerful and enormously influential live act, frequently confronting the audience with sets of unfamiliar material still being sharpened on the grindstone of public reaction and polished with Mark E's very special brand of bile.

By the time the band reached Australia, Mark E Smith was the hip priest of justified contempt - the champion of spotty teenagers using unlicensed CB radio; bemoaning the then-recently banned 48hour parties of the Wigan Casino Soul Weekenders and cursing the presence of solicitors in studios.

This album shows the Fall at their creative height with MES zeroing in on his targets with remorseless, if sometimes twisted, lyrical accuracy and the band pulling out a series of unforgettable, driving musical themes to help punch home the message.

Of course, decyphering the message has always been part of the Fall's appeal and although in slower, more contemplative numbers like Tempo House we might eventually work out why the Dutch are weeping, the jury remains undecided on the vital question of "Who IS the King Shag Corpse?"

In the words of their long-time champion; John Peel of the BBC, the Fall are "still the yardstick by which all other bands must be measured". This recording will go some way towards explaining why.

See the other items in our Fall discography review

Also see our Fall tribute

Check out the rest of PERFECT SOUND FOREVER