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I Am Kurious Oranj

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Album Review

The last thing most Fall fans expected the group to do in 1988 was provide music for a ballet, but in fact this is what they did. Of course, it helped that the Michael Clark company of dancers were some of the most avant-garde at the time in Britain and were inspired originally by the Fall's "Hey! Luciani" single. The concept, very loosely, centers around William and Mary of Orange, and finds Smith arranging William Blake's "Jerusalem" for the band, adding his own lyrics ("It was the fault of the government," providing ironic contrast to the self-sufficiency espoused in Blake). As a cohesive Fall album it fails: The strongest tracks are those that have little to do with the ballet (and are available elsewhere). "New Big Prinz" updates their own "Hip Priest" into one of their heaviest tracks, full of threat and wonder. "Cab It Up!" features all forward momentum and jingling keyboards. For the first time tracks felt like filler, and indeed they were. The CD booklet contains photographs from the performance full of giant pop-art hamburgers and cans of baked beans, suggesting I Am Kurios Oranj would have been more interesting to see than hear.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Out of all the late-'70s punk and post-punk bands, none are longer lived or more prolific than the Fall. Throughout their career, the band underwent myriad lineup changes, but at the center of it all was vocalist Mark E. Smith. With his snarling, nearly incomprehensible vocals and consuming, bitter cynicism, Smith became a cult legend in indie and alternative rock. Over the course of their career, the Fall went through a number of shifts in musical style, yet the foundation of their sound was a near-cacophonous,...
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