Facebook Slider

Messing Up The Paintwork : The Wit And Wisdom Of Mark E. Smith

  • Published in Books

Messing Up The Paintwork : The Wit And Wisdom Of Mark E. Smith is a bathroom book if ever there was one, easily got through in around 40 minutes or so (if you ignore the poetry, as I did in the main on the bus ride out to my allotment yesterday after picking the book up). That's not to say that the collected quotes in it aren't insightful, philosophic, brutally honest, truthful and funny, just that at under 200 pages it's a quick read.

There are longer passages of prose in it which I've since dipped into but, other than Hayley Scott's thoughts on The Fall's 'Perverted By Language' album, none of that's really stuff you'll be re-reading (does it really matter that some bloke failed to once track down a short-lived member of The Fall?). The table of band members is a handy detail although a bit crap in black and white and the list of Peel Sessions & the Fall/Smith discography are sensible inclusions.

Surprisingly there're no quote(s) included from Marc Riley, given that he mentions being in the band on a reasonably regular basis on his 6music show (although the relevant table shows it to have only been for five years or so (which probably felt like a lifetime to be fair)). At least his identity's not tied up to it, unlike his colleague Guy Garvey "of Elbow". If, like me, you barely ever bought the NME (in the days it had any relevance and a print version) or such dead publications as Melody Maker etc. then the Smith quotes will all be refreshingly new to you & if they're not then you at least have them all in one place now.

Mark E. Smith was undoubtedly a genius and, given the contrary nature of the late singer, it's hard as a run of the mill (rather than obsessive) fan of his work to guess what he'd have made of the book but it's certainly a shame he died when he did, thus depriving us of his no doubt to the point thoughts on England's performance in the recent World Cup (not to mention further music).  

Ebury Press, 192pp, ISBN 9781785039850

Messing Up The Paintwork : The Wit And Wisdom Of Mark E. Smith is available from Penguin.




Workin’ Man Noise Unit - Play Loud

  • Published in Albums

Following some well received cassettes and 7”s, an appropriately instructively titled debut LP from WMNU.  Exponents of boisterous riffing, following in the lumbering footsteps of the likes of Blue Cheer, Mudhoney and contemporary ear bludgeoners such as Part Chimp, but with the added dimension of a near constant wash of pedal and gizmo generated noise resembling a badly tuned short wave radio in a wind tunnel.

Although an integral part of their sound this works in a complimentary fashion and never obscures the catchiness of either the riffs, or the songs which range from upbeat, punchy ragers, to lurching, at times languid trudges. And occasionally a combination of the two.

Hi-tempo 'Crusin' The IDR' (possibly the first song concerning home town Reading’s Inner Distribution Road) hits the spot with a rapid fire stop/start verse shifting into a glorious chorus which abruptly (and slightly frustratingly) slams to a halt and 'Yeah I Was Hypnotised' combines a mid '80s Fallesque riff with an irresistible '60s party swing concluding with an epic ponderous trudge.

Elsewhere, Side 2 opener 'Black Lights’ nagging feedback drone brings to mind the Bomb Squad’s reshaping of the J.B.’s, and things turn a bit political (“Dickheads in the House of Lords”) on 'Hate It'.     

Vocal clarity is clearly not a priority but memorable couplets do emerge from the sonic gloop; “Lose yourself, lose your mind ('With Love Supreme'), “We’ve got nothing to say, but we’ll say it anyway” ('Icegrill 420') And an anguished “Breaking the Law!” in 'Creepin’ Around'.

Guitar solos are kept to a minimum other than in strident slugfest 'Jammer' which brings the album to a close, with a plaintive lilt of lightly strummed guitar, ambient hiss and what sounds bizarrely like the speeded up mutterings of Davy Jones.

Clocking in at 34 minutes this is a fine LP; well (but certainly not over) produced with a hefty bottom end. If it leaves you wanting more (as it should) then check out their soundcloud for details of previous releases.  

Play Loud is available from amazon and iTunes.

Subscribe to this RSS feed