Review Summary: Moreso unique than good or bad.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
The Fall's album Live At The Witch Trials opens with the plodding "Frightened", Mark E Smith's casual drawl set to a back drop of dragging bass and keyboard accents. A sort of strange sound - not entirely unfamiliar, but certainly possesing the same kind of “detatched from reality” vibe as many of their post-punk peers. But whereas some would carve a niche mining the punk/funk combination, and some delving into the deepest pits of human emotion, the charm that seems to carry The Fall above other bands is the real basic nature of it - it's punk rock - but not being a "musician" here doesn't mean banging on the same three chords for your whole career, but rather creates a "jam" based sound born out of a charming naivety. Make no mistake – this is punk - Mark E Smith's sneer is undeniable, sitting nciely alongside the best of '77.
The hypnotic bass dirge of Rebellious Jukebox will stick in your mind, twisting around like a warped carnival, such is the nature of this deceptively simple band. No Xmas For John Quays is the closest this gets to straight up punk, but of course it still carries tell tale signs of Smith's trademark demented spin.
Two Steps Back has the feel of a do it yourself ritual - the keyboard melody adding a slightly left field, creepy children's play thin gfeel to a track that otherwise creates an altogether more traditionally menacing atmosphere, the bass once again doing the majority of the work.
Overall, The Fall succeed in creating an album that at once is down to earth and realistic - Mark E Smith's northern accent and musings on industrial life and all - and at the same time as, uncomfrotable, intelligent and hypnotic as possible.
There isn't a massive variety of sounds on this album to say the least, but the sound here is pretty much without real peer. The Fall play The Fall - the album is a long way from perfect, but it's certainly very good. Music fans should check this out – a band seemingly underrated here – but, if nothing else, it’s certainly an interesting listen – and who knows, you may end up loving it.