The Fall’s Albums In No Order At All; No. 8 of 29(ish) - The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall
Let’s just take in that title for a minute. There had always been a self-awareness to The Fall (for example, playfully quoting their own reviews on “Dragnet”) but there’s a real pride in there. And I’d have to agree that it was justified.
“TWAFWOTF” has aged particularly well; although essentially transitional, it sounds fresh, clear, focused. If “Perverted By Language” stripped The Fall down to its skeleton, this is the sound of new meat growing on the bones. It’s Brix’s first full album (she contributed to a maximum of 2 tracks on “PBL”) and she integrates well - she sings no more than any other member and her guitars blend well with Craig Scanlon’s - spindly but robust, like strong wire. There’s a bounciness to “2 by 4” and “Stephen Song” that could almost be described as cheerful - in fact, there’s a relative dearth of cynicism on this album, MES preferring to build scenes and stories; the neighbour downstairs has one eye, the bugs are rising and the elves of Dunsimore are not to be trusted. Although still sporting two drummers, Paul Hanley and Karl Burns both multitask brilliantly - the lead bass Burns adds to “Lay Of The Land” is one of the album’s highlights and Hanley’s sparkling keyboards certainly lift “Slang King”.
I had a few problems with this album when I first got it, around 1988-ish. It felt cold, arid. I have no idea why as it couldn’t feel better to me now - it’s the sound of The Fall taking in some light, some space. And why not? It suited them, freshened them up. They were heading somewhere different with this album. After all, if they had still been doing what they were doing 2 years ago, they certainly shouldn’t be making a career out of it… C-Mac Rating - 9/10
For many it seems that their first love is their greatest love and for me and The Fall this is the one. This is the first The Fall album I bought and it is my favourite. This is where it started and where I go back to most. This is the sound of something extraordinary on the waves.