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All Fall Down

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Album Review

The 77s were still struggling to establish themselves with their second record, an album that, while light years ahead of its predecessors, still evidences some of the pesky drawbacks of youth and naïveté. One thing was clear from the outset: Michael Roe was developing into an astounding pop songwriter. The single-syllable chorus of "Ba Ba Ba Ba" was instantly infectious, and the foreboding "Caught in an Unguarded Moment" is an easy rival to Robyn Hitchcock. But elsewhere the band is too easily constrained by the genre trappings of the day. The Hall & Oates pop of "Your Pretty Baby" and jittery synths of "Under the Heat" very clearly place All Fall Down at the center of the 1980s, and on too many occasions there is a longing for the band to strip off the trappings and play the songs in their barest form. Recorded in a different manner, "Another Nail" might have been a stellar Go-Betweens song — but in its moussed-up, synthed-up form it is thoroughly cringe-inducing. Likewise, "Mercy Mercy" and "You Don't Scare Me" pale when considered alongside their sweaty, superior renderings on 88. All Fall Down proved a promising step for the 77s, but the room for improvement was vast. ~ J. Edward Keyes, Rovi

Customer Reviews

All Fall Down

from 1984, this is the 77s second album, after 'ping pong over the abyss' burst onto the scene the previous year.

whereas 'ping pong' was a rawer, scanter and more strictly *garage* style album, all fall down is more polished and sophisticated in its sounds. but still with some nice rough guitar thrown in, all the same.

it was apparent from the sevens' early days that they had a distinct and uncanny ability to produce an eclectic array of songs, something very clear on their debut album. 'all fall down' carries this tradition on: from pure pop bliss ('ba ba ba ba'), tunefully wistful and melodic ('caught in an unguarded moment'), eccentric new wave ('you don't scare me', 'under the heat'), normal new wave/romantic ('another nail') to true garage band clangers like 'mercy mercy'...'all fall down' had it all.

and that's one of the reasons you have to love the 77s...they can play anything. extremely well. their musical ability is pretty obvious. mikey roe's bluesy riffs, the firm basslines, the pounding drums and the quirky synth overlays...all make for a great sound.

bear in mind, the album is from 1984, so there are some obvious stylistic strains that could leave you smirking in 2010, if only slightly: the most obvious example is their re-recording of 'someone new' - definitely better the first time (on 'ping pong'...much more raw and gutsy). but in saying that, THAT guitar riff is as catchy as anything out there.

the 77s have enjoyed reasonable success over the years, but IMHO they should be absolute superstars. think: if albums like this were released on bigger labels??!! what could have been.

at any rate, a great band that has stood the test of time, a band that (apparently) goes OFF live, and a band that i will most probably never get to see, even tho' they are one of my all time faves...

anytime soon the boys will come to sydney, australia?

anyway, if you loved the 80s, new wave and garage rock, buy this and ping pong over the abyss. you will enjoy.

love ya mike, mark, aaron and jan eric.


Genre: Alternative

Described by Larry Norman as being "too Christian for the radio, and too radio for the Church," the 77's were formed in Sacramento in the early '80s by Mike Roe (vocals, guitar) Mark Tootle (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Jan Eric Volz (bass, guitar, vocals) and drummer Mark Proctor. Known at first as the Savage Young Scratch Band, the Christian band changed their name and released Ping Pong over the Abyss in 1982, and then replaced Proctor with Aaron Smith for All Fall Down two years later. Mark Tootle...
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All Fall Down, 77s
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