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Hip Priest and Kamerads

The Fall

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Album Review

So named due to this being a collection of stuff released on the Kamera label, for a long time Hip Priests was the only way to listen to material from the mighty Hex Enduction Hour album, as well as Room to Live and related singles like "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" and "Look, Know." For that reason alone it was a useful collection, though it was also flawed in that nearly everything was mastered for CD from vinyl, a harbinger of what would eventually happen in the late '90s with any number of early Fall reissues. It's especially noticeable on "Hip Priest" itself. Whether or not one wants to debate the aesthetics of such an approach, it's still more than a little frustrating. Thankfully, the song selection is nearly impeccable — omissions are unavoidable, but there's no overlap with Palace of Swords Reversed, and the highlights are legion: "Hip Priest," "The Classical," "Mere Psued Mag. Ed.," "I'm Into C.B.!," and the absolutely wonderful B-side "Fantastic Life." The CD and cassette versions both include a useful bonus of interest to hardcore fans — four live cuts of varying fidelity of other material from that time. "Who Makes the Nazis?" is OK enough, but the take on "Just Step Sideways" gets delivered with rough, fiery authority. At the end of the collection, meanwhile, there's an extremely muddy take on "Jawbone and the Air-Rifle" that will likely cause immediate departures on the part of neighbors and friends. A full quarter-hour ramble and stumble through "And This Day" concludes the release as a whole; it's a great performance that at nearly every point sounds like it'll collapse into formless chaos. Mark E. Smith is his typically contrarian self, while the lineup has its usual off-center way with the proceedings.

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 were 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...
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