Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fall marathon 6: This Nation's Saving Grace / Bend Sinister

I've always thought of This Nation's Saving Grace as being in a continuum with Wonderful & Frightening World, with TNSG being maybe the less poppy side of TWAFW's sound world. However, listening to them now, they sound almost the opposite. WAF has more obvious "pop" elements in its makeup, but the way they're put together, caked on top of one another, drenched in dischord, makes it seem much more abrasive than I remember, wheras TNSG, while it doesn't trade quite so obviously on pop riffs and the like, has a sparser, more warmly recorded sound, that would remind you of Can even if there wasn't a song on it called "I am Damo Suzuki".

Bend Sinister occupies a place somewhere between the two, more pop hooks again, but with the sparser sound of "Nation". And unlikely electro influences in "U.S. 80's-90's". Although I should know by now that nothing's unlikely with The Fall. With the benefit of hindsight, "Terry Waite Sez" seems an unfortunately mis-timed gag, but bollocks to hindsight, it was funny at the time.

This period is probably the most stable the Fall ever had in terms of line-up. It's difficult to know how much this contributes to the consistency of these albums. I suspect there may be a connection between this and the way Smith's working methods changed later, but I'll come back to that on another occasion.

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