The Fall – Extricate (Fontana) 1990


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This was the first Fall album I’d ever heard. Whilst at High School I had a mate called Marty who lived in Newcastle and every six months or so we’d record all of the vinyl and CD’s we’d acquired during that time and send copies to each other. I’m not ashamed to say that Marty always had much better and sophisticated taste in music than me. He’s the guy who knew how important Sonic Youth’s Sister was and I’ll be honest that record changed my life. I, in return would send him a cassette of the latest 4AD band like the Pale Saints or Lush. Sure it was hardly a fair swap but I always suspected that I looked forward to his recordings much more than he looked forward to mine.

Extricate was one of those great records that Marty sent me that opened up my ears to punk that didn’t sound like the Clash or the Dead Kennedy’s. Here was punk music with the slickest of slick production propelled by the mildly bored tuneless ranting of a man who probably thought he could be doing something better. As a punk record there are plenty of moments on Extricate that bring the white boy funk front and centre. Sure Hex Induction Hour is a better record but Extricate holds a special place for me as a record that stretched the boundaries of “alternative music”, at least in my teenage mind. I now know that the beat on Telephone Thing is pure ESG but at the time it meant that music all of a sudden didn’t need a “singer”, punk was allowed to have a dance beat and cool indifference replaced angry earnestness. In fact it could be the most avant-garde pop record ever made.

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