The Fall - A Part Of America Therein 1981 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Fall - A Part Of America Therein 1981

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2017-03-03

“From the riot torn streets of Manchester England to the scenic sewers of Chicago, Tuts takes great pleasure in presenting the last United States engagement, The Fall” bellows a rather enthusiastic MC and Marc Riley makes an assuming beginning by piercing the silence with a Kazoo.

In 1982 The Fall went to America don’t ya know?  They went at a time when, subjectively for some they were at their musical peak.  Mark E Smith was packed with yelps and shrieks back then rather than the sound of his current madman ramblings.

‘A Part Of America Therein 1981’ was originally a US only release that was put together following a US tour and this live LP covers tracks recorded in Chicago, New York, Houston, San Francisco and Memphis and was put out in 1982.  It features 8 songs in total including three tracks from the yet to be released ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ and ‘Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul’ which was recorded as a single following the tour.

The recording is distinctly lo-fi ,fitting in perfectly with The Fall’s aesthetics and when opener ‘The N.W.R.A’ bowls on through we can settle down and let Mr Smith and co fill our ears and clean out our bowels with the ramshackle beauty of his bunch of scruffy associates. 

Smith is somewhat spikey and edgy right from the offset and coupled with some of the finest songs committed to record this particular live recording is not just for Fall nerds but is accessible for anyone with a leaning towards the indie underground. Back then no one was making this kinda post punk sound.  Yes we had the raincoat brigade of Joy Division and the art rock of Wire but The Fall stood loud and proud making an idiosyncratic sound that has been copied by many an artist since but never better.

The enthusiasm that flows from ‘The N.W.R.A’ is personified by the in-between song banter, before launching into a particularly loose and super doper version of ‘Hip Priest’, Smith informs us that “The keyboards have broke down and you’re getting something unique, anybody that wants a 50 cent refund send an airmail letter to the Outer Hebrides”.  A plucky version of ‘Totally Wired’ follows and the monotone backing vocals add a sense of messy organisation to the proceedings.

A particularly terse and angry Smith berates a San Francisco crowd who must have wondered what they were witnessing as he trolls the stage on ‘Cash N Carry’.  The recording on this track is quite poor and muffled, yet again creating an air of uncomfortable listening but remaining beguiling all the same.

The last two tracks are ‘Deer Park’ and ‘Winter’ from their finest LP in ‘Hex…’ taking the band into a much more muscular and direct direction and through a mid-80s purple patch of sound and serrated lyrics that were to follow.

This is a diamond in the rough of an album.  Yes the recordings at time hiss and spit back at us but that creates a nostalgic sense of almost being there – a powder keg waiting to go off.  We should all be glad of this release being cut into our veins.

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