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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Fall

Ersatz G.B.

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed the recent live album from The Fall and noted that there were musical links to Hawkwind at some points. Well, this new studio album seems equally rooted in punk rock and space rock like Hawkwind practices. In fact, some of the music here really feels a lot like Hawkwind. All in all, it’s a cool album blending musical styles you might not think would work together.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Cosmos 7

The rhythm section starts this off. With just the bass and drums driving it, psychedelic keyboards come over the top. Eventually it turns to more of a roots rock meets punk approach for the vocal section. This is like psychedelic space rock turned punk.

Taking Off
There’s a driving bass line here and punk meets Hawkwind in the rest of the arrangement. This definitely feels a lot like Hawkwind in a lot of ways.
Nate Will Not Return
The keyboards that open this again call to mind Hawkwind. It turns more straight punk for a short time, then shifts into Hawkwind-like territory again. This is angry and powerful, but also very much like something Dave Brock and company might do.
Mask Search
The rhythm section seriously drives this thing. It’s more punk and less space rock than the first few cuts were. There’s definitely psychedelia in the mix. It’s a cool tune with some rockabilly in the arrangement.
Greenway
A pounding piano opens this and the razor blade vocals join. Then they launch after a time into one of the most blatantly punk rock oriented jams of the disc. This is angry and energized. It’s got a bit of a jam element in the way the tune just seems to rework a single sonic theme by playing on it with minor changes.
Happi Song
With female vocals and a decidedly psychedelic musical texture, this reminds me of The Velvet Underground. There’s really not a lot of punk in this one at all, but there are hints of early Hawkwind.
Monocard
Space rock tones, noisy electronics and a jam band rhythm section open this. It goes along without vocals for a while. Then a false ending gives way to the same arrangement with vocals in place. This is very cool and has many more false endings. Then it turns out to a more energized sound with even more noises added to it. There is definitely a shoe-gaze element here.
Laptop Dog
A stark contrast to the previous track, this comes in with a real garage band pop rock song sound. It’s definitely got lots of punk rock built into it. While it’s not the most creative thing here, it brings some variety to the table. Some noisy keyboards later keep it interesting. There’s a weird little reprise at the end of this.
I've Seen Them Come
Percussion opens this and holds it for the first twenty seconds or so. Then it powers out into a space rock meets punk jam. As it gets louder and more energized it becomes noisy and very weird.
Age of Change
Noisy punk blends with space rock and jam music on this tune.
 
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