In the absence of any new Fall albums, devotees in need of a Northern fix could do worse than turn to the latest Blue Orchids album Speed The Day. Martin Bramah, one of the guitarists in the original line up soldiers on to wonderful effect here. Recorded in three days with no overdubs last July. It's a feast.
Bramah is a specific talent, indicating a direction that The Fall might have pursued had he and Una Baines not split after a couple of records to do their own thing. In the words of John Robb 'monochromatic psychedelia'. Their debut album, The Greatest Hit, from 1982, is still a go to record for me, almost forty years on from its initial release. Fuelled by a more melodic and dreamy vision than that which drove Mark E.onward but with plenty of the same grit and vigour.
Speed The Day takes its inspiration from the great American Garage bands of the Sixties. In many ways it sounds more akin to The Stranglers than The Fall but I'm not going to complain about that. Bramah's vocals still have the same yearning quality they ever did and the swirling organ that underpinned the greatest moments of The Doors and The Seeds grounds everything. Urban dreaming. The same kind of fire the early opium eaters had in their bellies.
The early Fall were very much ingesters of paperbacks, mushrooms and wonderful obscure records. Very much more more obscure then than they are today. Bramah still draws from this well and it clearly hasn't run dry just yet. Anyone who ever enjoyed The Teardrop Explodes Kilimanjaro, The Fall's Live at the Witch Trials and Dragnet, The Stranglers Black & White or early Felt or Bunnymen should find much to detain them here.