These days everyone seems to love The Fall, but rarely has a band’s rise to cult status been quite as lengthy, unpredicted and unprecedented as that of the group of druggy Mancunian misfits who went through more line-up comings and goings than anyone sane would care to count.
Martin Bramah, The Fall’s singer until Mark E Smith’s lesser guitar skills caused them to swap places, was, per Daryl Easlea, “possibly the last true equal to Smith in the group” and likewise the longest survivor of the original line-up.
Yet while The Fall become famed in part for their legendary productivity, Bramah often went great spans of time between releases, releasing fewer albums in thirty-five years (under any guise) than he has in the last seven with Blue Orchids – who already have a fantastic new album in the can.
What caused HOUSE Of ALL to come together is something of a mystery. Bramah has joined forces with four other mighty Fall alumni: Steve Hanley, The Fall’s longest-serving bassist, as well as his brother Paul Hanley, who drummed on what may be the best run of Fall records, from “Grotesque” to “Bend Sinister”. The three has also played together as Factory Star, for a brief period. Joining them are two surprise members – drummer Simon Wolstencroft, who joined the Fall around the time Paul left, and more surprisingly, guitarist Pete Greenway, The Fall’s long- serving and final guitarist who has, to our knowledge, never played with any of the other four before.
And their eponymous album? Recorded in a burst of intense creativity, we won’t attempt to propagandise you, as the album speaks loudly for itself, but it wouldn’t be a false boast to claim that it stands with much of the best Fall or Blue Orchids music, with an energy and impulse all its own, each member playing as sharply and with as much drive as they ever have, around a kind of motorik- groove energy and with a shocking lack of ‘compromise’. It’s an album of depth which demands re-listening to uncover its many dimensions, yet satisfies upon first listen.