Martin Bramah was an early member of The Fall, but unlike so many of those Fallen soldiers, he has continued to develop and grow the musical territory of his particular Fall period. With his band Blue Orchids, his latest release is the punchy-sounding Righteous Harmony Fist, full of rich, punkish, Manchester power. Out on Tiny Global Productions.
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One plus point of the demise of Mark E Smith could be that without the Fall's prodigious output we may start to listen closer to some of the bands who splintered off them. One of the most talented former the Fall members was Martin Bramah who in one of the odder decisions by the erstwhile former leader was frozen out of the Fall not once but thrice. Imagine how a few Bramah originals could have perked up the latter day Fall. Instead, after a couple of decades out of the game this is Bramah's second album with these reconstituted Orchids.
It has it's moments, it really does. They still have a kind of shambolic melodicism with guitars and organs picking out interesting chunky chords. Bramah's vocals suffer a bit from age but tracks like The Art of Falling sound like they could have been sometime era the Fall classics with a garage rock sound that would have surely appeased the Seeds/Monks loving Smith. Though the shadow of the Fall looms large, Blue Orchids are still their own entity. Opener the Lad That Time Forgot is brilliant. A Monochrome Set-like piece of educated guitar pop with post punk chops galore.
It's simple uncomplicated guitar pop, with enough moments that Blue Orchids still have that extra bit of magic that always had them stand out from the crowd.
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