Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Oliver: The Fall - Sing! Harpy (9 February 1992)

So there I am, doing the ironing, one Sunday earlier this year, and Peel's playing a track by dance act, Verona, which is so forgettable, he doesn't even announce it back.  The only distinguishing feature is the way it blends some screeching, deliberately untuned violins and strings, which seem out of place but are an almost perfect match to the pitch and tempo of the rest of the track. And then after 30 seconds of squalling, we get the keyboard, guitar and cymbal crashes that herald the unmistakeable bass brawn rumble of The Fall, who come up here with a track which tonally feels like an update on Sympathy for the Devil but with the twist that it's Smith who ends up being used and thrown aside by the travelling succubus.  There are allusions to Alice in Wonderland, "She grew taller every day", but ultimately this is a kiss off to his ex wife, Brix Smith Start, and its position as the lead-off track on 1990's Extricate album is clearly Smith's attempt to deal with the matter as speedily as possible.  Touching on her sexual prowess and her liking for cannabis, amongst other things, the song says plenty about Brix that she would later confirm herself.  Lyrically, it shows Mark E's thinking in an extraordinarily personal and clear way.  Allied to the returning (though he would be long gone by the time Peel played this on 9/2/92) Martin Bramah's splendidly circular melody, it's my favourite Fall song so far.

Video courtesy of Uploads.

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