YMGTA #20 – Code: Selfish

“Impossible to work under Smith’s oppressive regime.”

Details
Recorded: Air Studio, London and Glasgow late 1991
Released: 9 March 1992

  • Mark E Smith – vocals, tapes
  • Craig Scanlon – guitar
  • Steve Hanley – bass
  • Simon Wolstencroft – drums, keyboards
  • Dave Bush – keyboards, machines
    With:
  • Cassell Webb – vocals
  • Craig Leon – keyboards
  • Simon Rogers – keyboards

Background
Perhaps the key date of 1991 for MES was a personal one: on 27 November, he married Saffron Prior (his stag-do, which apparently involved Smith being dangled by his ankles from a window, is described in The Big Midweek pp337-340). For the group as a whole, however, the most important event was the promotion of Dave Bush to full band member. Making his full debut at the Cities in the Park festival in Manchester in August (see below), Bush’s influence on the next album was to be even greater than it had been on Shift-Work; Simon Wolstencroft noting that he ‘had started to shape The Fall’s sound in a big way’1.

During 1991, Smith became increasing convinced that Trevor Long had his hand in The Fall’s till. During the recording of High Tension Line, for example, Smith became highly suspicious when the manager arrived at the studio in a newly-purchased (although not actually new) Audi2. According to Steve Hanley, Smith’s animosity was mostly about someone having too much control of his money; trying to stop him, for example, just dipping into the group’s account to fund trips to the pub3. Smith’s suspicions would eventually lead him to take Long to court (unsuccessfully) in 1994; they were also to form the subject matter for the next album’s opening song.

In November, the group headed north, where – despite the supposed shortness of cash – they found themselves in the luxurious surroundings of Ca Va studio in Glasgow. It was a converted church still containing ‘a pulpit, mahogany panelling and crimson velvet cushioning’4 that, according to Steve Hanley, cost ‘silly money’5.

The comfortable surroundings don’t seem to have been overly conducive to productivity, however. According to Wolstencroft, the four musicians had spent much of the Autumn in Dave Bush’s home studio, but Steve Hanley states that the only song they took into the sessions was Free Range. Despite spending a month in Glasgow, they didn’t come up with a great deal of new, satisfactorily completed material: only five of Code‘s 12 tracks come from the Glasgow sessions. After Smith declared himself dissatisfied with the results of their Scottish residency (‘Mark decreed that we sounded “like a bunch of old men!” (even him))’6 the group headed to Air Studios in London, where, showing a slightly more Live At The Witch Trials-style pace to their work, they finished it off in five days.

In the new year, The Fall headed to Maida Vale to record their 15th Peel session. Broadcast on 15 February 1992, it featured Free Range, Kimble, Immortality and Return.

Front cover

The group’s first release in nearly a year (coming out on 2 March 1992, a week before the album), the single Free Range merged electronics with a more traditional guitar-driven approach in a similar vein to So What About It? and The MixerFree Range, however, demonstrated a far more hard-edged and aggressive sound that resulted in arguably the group’s best single of the 90s. Dave Thompson:

‘One of The Fall’s most ferocious …releases, war torn guitars and keyboards cut through with muttered samples, as Smith’s chilling vision of a pan-European society regulated according to the Nazi/Nietzsche-ian ideal was borne out by the near-simultaneous eruption of the war in the Balkans.’7

No song of this period better captures the potential of harnessing Bush’s crisp, layered sequences with the trusted Scanlon/Hanley/Wolstencroft axis and Smith’s drawling sneer. Unsurprisingly a popular choice live, it clocked up 107 appearances 1991-98, plus a one-off revival in 2002. Despite being accompanied by the usual cheap and shoddy video (see below), it reached number 40 in the charts, which proved to be the highest ever placing for an original Fall song. It was also the last time one of the group’s singles would grace the top 40.

The 7″/12″/CD single b-sides were all songs that would appear on the album: Everything Hurtz, Dangerous (without, at this stage, the ‘so-called’ in its title) and Return. All three – plus Free Range – are slightly different edits/mixes, although you’d be hard-pressed to spot more than the most negligible of differences.

The follow up single, released three months after the album, didn’t trouble the chart compilers at all. Ed’s Babe is a pleasant, if rather unremarkable slice of breezy pop, most notable for its catchy ‘D.I.Y.’ backing vocals. Allegedly (according to the Reformation A-Z – although it’s not clear who alleges this) featuring lyrics written by Craig Scanlon, it only made 15 live appearances, the last being in January 1994.

Front cover

Ed’s Babe was only released on 12″ and CD (a sign of the times) and both featured the same three b-sides. Free Ranger is (unsurprisingly) a remix of Free Range, one which whomps up the drum track and turns ups the reverb; this actually takes a little edge off the song, making it distractingly busy and sound somewhat hollow in comparison to the focused, driving original.

Pumpkin Head Xscapes features – like Everything Hurtz – some Slade-inspired spelling (although at least ‘hurtz’ makes some semblance of sense). It’s an uptempo, funky little number with, like Ed’s Babe, quite a catchy hook: ‘We’re coming, we’re coming, Leo’. (The Annotated Fall suggests a link with a character in a 1951 Kirk Douglas film – the scene in question is at 1:17:13 – although it’s not clear what any of the rest of lyrics might have to do with its plot.)  Steve Hanley contributes some marvellously fluid bass (see the detailed review here), but the choppy two-chord guitar – although it gives the song momentum -does pall after a while.

The Knight, the Devil and Death is an oddity as well as an obscurity in it’s one of that small group of tracks that doesn’t really sound at all like The Fall. Mostly this is because of MES’s absence (although that could be some of his trademark violin work around the one minute mark), the vocals being provided by Cassell Webb, but it also has an earnest, almost post-rock sort of vibe. It’s full of nice textures (for example the two contrasting guitar parts, one chorus-heavy, one fuzzily distorted), has a marvellously overblown finale and is an intriguing and atmospheric piece overall. Neither Knight nor Pumpkin were ever played live.

In The Wider World…
The violent break-up of Yugoslavia continued: at the end of February, 613 Azerbaijani civilians were massacred at Khojaly; on 1 March a shooting in Sarajevo saw the first deaths in the Bosnian War. White South Africans voted to end apartheid. John Major announced that a general election would be held on 9 April (this being the one with Kinnock’s infamous ‘We’re alright!’ speech). The Duke and Duchess of York announced they were to separate, one of the events that contributed to 1992 being what the Queen described as her ‘Annus Horribilis’. Punch, Britain’s oldest satirical magazine, announced its closure.

On TV, the final episode of children’s classic Rainbow aired on 9 March; shortly afterwards, the cosy comedy-drama Heartbeat was broadcast for the first time – it would go on to clock up a remarkable 372 episodes over the next 18 years. Shakespears Sister were in the middle of an eight week stay at the top of the singles chart with Stay. In the album chart, Simply Red’s Stars was enjoying the last of its three weeks at number one, soon to be replaced by Madness’ greatest hits package, Divine Madness.

The Fall Live In 1991-92
After five months off, the group undertook a 12-date European tour in May-June 1991. Several of the Shift-Work tracks got their first live outings on this tour: A Lot Of Wind, Edinburgh Man, Shift-Work, The Book Of Lies, The Mixer and The War Against Intelligence.

ticket

Their first UK gig of the year was Dave Bush’s debut as full band member. ‘Cities In The Park’ was a two-day open air show held in Heaton Park, Manchester on the weekend of  3-4 August, which featured The Wonder Stuff, The Beautiful South, OMD and Buzzcocks amongst others. The Fall acted as a last-minute replacement for The Soup Dragons, and played on the Saturday night, presumably third on the bill (see flyer below). There isn’t an official release for this gig, but there is a fairly widely-circulated bootleg available (there are also a few videos of the festival on YouTube, but The Fall seem to have been airbrushed from the event). There’s a review of the performance here.

Image result for Cities in the park - 1991 - Heaton Park, Manchester

The bootleg, although of no better than average audience-recorded sound quality, is an interesting listen. The group open with the first performance – albeit a highly truncated one – of Two Face! which is played at a cracking tempo (about 50% faster than the studio version). Free Range also gets its debut, and sounds impressively fierce despite the tinny sound. There’s some sort of sound failure during Pittsville Direkt, leaving Wolstencroft, Hanley and Smith to perform an almost dub version of the song. The closing Shift-Work is also notable for some energetic thrashing from Craig Scanlon that gives the track a totally different feel to the melancholy album version.

The Fall played three further gigs (in Manchester – where Time Enough At Last was debuted – Newcastle and Coventry) before making their second consecutive appearance at the Reading Festival. A rather shaky video of the whole performance (see below) shows MES sporting a striking gold lamé shirt and deploying a headmaster-style lectern for his lyric sheets. In contrast to the 100mph version of Two Face! played three weeks earlier, the opener Time Enough At Last is played at an almost funereal pace. In a post-gig interview for Radio One8, Hanley and Scanlon expressed doubts that The Fall had the right equipment or songs for such a large festival; however, the sluggish Time aside, the video shows the group on fine, fierce form.

The group rounded off 1991 with five UK dates in December, where Gentlemen’s Agreement, Return, Birmingham and Dangerous were given their first outings.  The journey back from the Blackpool gig on the 3rd was to be immortalised in Crew Filth (see below).

The group only played around half as many dates in 1992 as they had the previous year, but still managed to visit Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Greece. A recording of the one of first gigs of the year, from Nottingham Polytechnic on 15 March, was released in 1998 as Nottingham ’92.

Nottingham ’92 is (and this is something that you’re not able to say often enough) a really good quality Fall live album. The sound is about 8.5/10 – a generally crystal clear soundboard recording with just a few moments of imbalance – and it captures the group in top form. There are several highlights and/or moments of interest: ‘It’s a bit like James’ MES announces at the beginning of Free Range; the vivacious rendition of Married, 2 Kids (its first performance); Smith’s disparagement of Immortality (‘I’m already fed up with this, it sounds like Italian disco, let’s wrap it up’ – at 3:08); plus a stomping version of New Big Prinz (incredibly joyful, fresh and forceful, despite it being its 64th performance in four years).

The support act on the 1992 UK tour was Levitation, the band formed by guitarist Terry Bickers following his departure from The House of Love. They didn’t last long, leaving the tour after only three dates, alleging that it was ‘impossible to work under Smith’s oppressive regime’. MES countered that the band had taken up to an hour and a half sound-checking and were using too much dry ice. One of the replacements on the rest of the tour was the as-yet unsigned Suede.

The Album
For Code: Selfish, released in March 1992, the group once again used Pascal Le Gras’ distinctive artwork. Craig Leon once again produced, this time joined by Simon Rogers (his first involvement with The Fall since Frenz); both also contributed keyboards.

Dave Bush wasn’t the only one trying to pull The Fall away from a traditional guitar/bass/drums sound. Smith, always sceptical about the whole ‘Madchester’ craze, was increasingly derisive of the contemporary tendency to hark back to the mainstream guitar rock of the 70s. In a February 1992 NME interview, he complained that there were ‘too many bloody guitar bands’ and ‘cheap Sonic Youth imitators’ – ‘all that crap’ that he’d been trying to ‘go against’ in 1979.

‘That’s why I keep The Fall at arm’s length, on the other side of town. I’ve seen all this shit before. It’s not just because I’m old, it’s because it’s no good. I’m into having a bit of taste, I’ve got taste, The Fall have got taste. That’s why I formed the bloody group in the first place, so I could hear something I like.’

The album sold well, reaching number 21 in the charts, just four short of Shift-Work. Reviews were again positive: in the NME, Dele Fadele described it as a ‘triumph’, a ‘bouquet of barbed wire, emblazoned “F- You”, that even the uninitiated will find hard to ignore’. David Cavanagh in Select was one of the few dissenting voices, declaring Code to be a ‘disappointment’ and ‘the worst Fall album in years’ (although his credibility is severely dented by his description of Free Range as ‘pretty bitchin’).

The Songs
The Birmingham School Of Business School
After a disconcertingly wonky and spooky opening that’s reminiscent of Black Sabbath, we get a brief burst of house/techno before the group lurch into a rattling assault that, despite MES’s repeatedly derisive comments about ‘Madchester’, is not a million miles from a lot of what in the early 90s was classed as ‘baggy’. However, despite its superficially contemporary feel, it would be unfair and simplistic to compare Birmingham to the likes of Groovy Train. There’s a whole heap of depth and edge here that was almost entirely lacking from the general indie-dance crowd of the early 90s. That said, you can’t help feeling that this song might have been even more powerful if it had been recorded ten years earlier or later…

Despite that, Birmingham is undoubtedly an expansive and ambitious opener: Smith’s vocals (including the somewhat disturbing ‘wah-wah-wah’s) are effectively menacing and sneering throughout; Simon Wolstencroft and Steve Hanley lay down a formidably solid rhythm track. But it’s Craig Scanlon that’s the star here. As well as the cascading harmonics that populate the rhythm throughout, he forges a meandering yet focused bluesy solo guitar that’s just a joy to listen to. It complements the song deftly; it treads the fine line between considered restraint and abandoned wig-out with careful balance. It is, as Stewart Lee observed, a guitar solo ‘that sounds contemptuous of the very idea of guitar solos’.

The lyric is largely aimed at Trevor Long’s management practices (‘the theft of its concealment’) and includes a recorded answerphone message to him, but also finds time to have a dig at Birmingham’s view of itself as Britain’s ‘second city’ – ‘Olympic bidding again and again’ referring to the city’s bid for the 1992 Olympics. It was played 28 times, all in 1991 and 1992.

Free Range
See above. (But re-read it while sticking it on at full volume, obviously.)

Return
A rather thin idea stretched over four minutes, there’s not a lot actually wrong with Return, but it’s rather uninspired and one-paced. The guitar and keyboard riff churn away aimlessly, whilst MES meanders away casually, not really sounding particularly engaged with what he’s doing. In the booklet accompanying the 2007 reissue, Daryl Easlea rather overstated its worth: ‘a cynical masterpiece over a violent chug’. Really ought to have been a b-side at best. Had more setlist longevity than much of the album though, being played 39 times 1991-96.

Time Enough At Last
A gentle melancholy strum with a fairly conventional structure. Smith’s vocals strike a moving tone, and there’s an affecting sense of ennui. Like Return , it feels like a thin idea being stretched out, although not to the same extent; its plaintive air and wobbly melody just about carry it successfully through its four minutes.

Time is one of several Fall songs where MES may well have taken inspiration from The Twilight Zone, in this case a 1959 episode with exactly the same title as the song. In it, Burgess Meredith (who will always be The Penguin to me) plays a man who loves reading (but never has the time) who survives a nuclear war and finds himself surrounded by books in the ruins of a public library. (I won’t spoil the ending, but should you wish you can see it here.)

One of Ben Pritchard’s favourite Fall songs, apparently. Only on the setlist 1991-92, played 28 times.

Everything Hurtz
Given Smith’s recreational habits, it’s perhaps surprising that there aren’t more hangover-related Fall songs. Whilst it isn’t his most insightful lyric, ‘pursuing the fuel’ is a pleasing euphemism for a heavy night. He certainly captures that dreaded morning-after feeling: painful (‘big fat pain in my chest bone’), skint (‘got a big fat no no in my chequebook’), sensitive to noise (‘got the disease tinnitus’) and struggling to speak properly (‘speakin’ like I’ve got Tourette’s’).

It’s also not the group’s most musically inventive moment, being a fairly standard indie-rock chug driven by a fuzzed-up but rather restrained guitar riff. MES’s litany of woes almost give it a bluesy feel, but there’s only just about enough Fallness to the sound to stop it being snared in the early-90s indie-dance-crossover trap. It was played 29 times 1992-96.

Immortality
Described by the NME as ‘Techno being shagged by The Fall’s steamrolling rock machine’, Immortality is basically a more mainstream and carefully controlled version of Birmingham. It grinds away dutifully, but suffers from a general atmosphere of ordinariness. Inoffensive but verging on dull. Smith himself (at its first live performance) declared ‘I’m already fed up with this, it sounds like Italian disco, let’s wrap it up …. ‘,  which may well explain why it only got two further outings, all in March 1992.

Two-Face!
After teasing us with a snippet of some of Dave Bush’s indie/techno crossover, Two-Face! suddenly lurches into action, lolloping along with bouncy funk. Simon Wolstencroft is particularly excellent here, certainly living up to his ‘funky Si’ moniker. The NME, rather bafflingly, described it as ‘like sprinkled sandpaper’. hippriestess does a far better job:

‘Scanlon and Hanley are enjoying themselves for sure, weaving around Wolstencroft and each other with aplomb, Scanlon in particular firing inventive chords into the heart of the beast in all the right wrong places. They are soon joined by Bush’s buzzing descending synth line which is approximately the size of Finland and, of course, by MES. This is one of those songs where Smith functions as a fifth instrument, his delivery a rhythmic device but as sonically unruly as one would expect.’

It’s not without its shortcomings: it’s not Smith’s most inventive lyric, and it’s also rather longer than it needs to be. Nonetheless, Two-Face! has enough energy and humour to make it one of the strongest tracks on the album. It was only played live seven times, all in 1992.

Just Waiting
And so we come to the obligatory cover version… and it’s one of the better ones. It was originally recorded by Hank Williams (as ‘Luke The Drifter’). Unusually for a Fall cover, MES actually adds melody to the song: Williams’ version is delivered as spoken word, whereas Smith adds a wry, lop-sided drawling melody. He also adds to the lyrics in his inimitable fashion: ‘The cretin is waiting for U2 to come on MTV again / but the producer is waiting for the blonde bird’.

The middle eight is a little stilted, but other than that it swings along with a joyfully deadpan swagger. The metronomic drums leave it in danger of straying into monotony, by Craig Scanlon rescues it halfway through with some nicely understated country/blues guitar work. The only clearly identified live performance of the song was on 3 October 1992 at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester; however, the live version that features on the Oswald Defence Lawyer compilation is (according to the Reformation A-Z) ‘definitely not‘ the same performance. Either way, it clearly wasn’t played very often.

So-Called Dangerous
Like Immortality and Return, Dangerous is inoffensive but feels a little thin, underdeveloped and uninspired. It’s a rather aimless indie-dance-rock shuffle that spends its nearly four minutes going nowhere very fast. By far the most interesting thing about the song is Peter Kimpton’s explanation of how he might have inspired the lyric ‘Same again, sir? / How can you have the same again?’ It was played twice in December 1991, and seven more times the following year.

Gentlemen’s Agreement
A less than promising opening comprises of some rather limp and lacklustre piano chords (that sound like a slowed-down sample from an Italian house track) and a somewhat banal Casio-keyboard style drum pattern. Overall, it does verge on the shapeless and soggy, but Scanlon’s delicate guitar and – above all – Smith’s genuinely tender vocal just about rescue it from mediocrity.

Simon Ford9 suggests that it’s another song about Trevor Long; Simon Wolstencroft that it was about sexual etiquette whilst on tour10 – neither interpretation is really borne out by the lyric itself. It was played 26 times 1991-92.

Married, 2 Kids
An unusual one for The Fall in terms of musical style: the swinging rhythm, slide guitar and r’n’r piano give it a barroom blues feel; you could almost imagine the Stones covering it. Smith’s laid-back drawl suits both the musical feel of the song and the lyrical content well. His vignette of married life is cynical and depressing, as you might expect, but also laced with dark, wry humour: ‘aftershave like mustard’; ‘peculiar goatish smell’. The Annotated Fall points out an interesting connection: the Thomas Harris novel The Silence of the Lambs (the film version of which used Hip Priest as part of its soundtrack) contains these lines:

‘Can you smell his sweat? That peculiar goatish odor is trans-3-methyl-2 hexenoic acid. Remember it, it’s the smell of schizophrenia.’

The Ian McCann NME interview also links the track to Trevor Long: ‘There’s a tie-in with “Married Two Kids”: Mark says the guy only started conning him once he’d had two kids.’ It was only played live 11 times, all in 1992. Its engagingly bleary-eyed swagger ought to have rounded the album off nicely…

Crew Filth
One of the most divisive issues (there are, of course, hundreds) amongst Fall fans is regarding the merits of the various piss-take/experimental/filler tracks that pepper the group’s back catalogue. Some find them tedious, self-indulgent and pointless; others celebrate their inventiveness and humour. Personally, I generally fall into the latter camp. However, even I – and the people that I know who are in the same camp as me – struggle to find anything positive to say about Crew Filth.

Recorded on the tour bus as the group returned from their 3 December gig in Blackpool, it’s basically the sound of a pissed-up group pissing around to a Casio keyboard preset. At best self-indulgent and tedious; at worst it flirts with being offensive – the line about ‘we kept our backs to the walls’ has, to be charitable, not aged well. Skulking at the end of the album, this may well be The Fall song with the smallest ownership-to-listens ratio. Rather a low point to conclude things.

Reissues & Bonus Tracks
A 2002 CD reissue included Ed’s Babe and Free Ranger. Like Extricate and Shift-WorkCode: Selfish received a double CD reissue from Fontana in 2007. The bonus CD rounded up all the b-sides plus the 1992 Peel session; it also added two further tracks.

Legend of Xanadu was a cover of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich’s 1968 number one. It was The Fall’s contribution to the 1992 NME 40th anniversary charity album, Ruby Trax, in which the group found themselves nestled between the unlikely pairing of Cud’s version of Status Quo’s Down Down and Sinéad O’Connor’s take on Doris Day’s Secret Love.

Xanadu is lively enough, and is certainly a more successful charity contribution than A Day In The Life; however, it does feel a little carelessly tossed off, and while you don’t go to The Fall for melodic crooning, MES is woefully tuneless.

Noel’s Chemical Effluence, however, is an obscure little gem, albeit one that had already been released on 1995’s semi-live double album The Twenty-Seven Points (and will be covered properly when we get to that release).

Overall Verdict
Whereas Shift-Work flirted with contemporary indie-dance crossover approaches, Code: Selfish embraced them more openly. Although So What About It? and The Mixer made clear use of Dave Bush’s ‘machines’, they were generally traditionally structured songs that were ‘flavoured’ with a spot of techno. Several songs on Code, however, are clearly constructed via the ‘programming in Dave’s home studio’ approach. When this comes off – most notably with Free Range – it gives the group an impressive contemporary bite. Too often, though, it leads to shapeless grooves like Return and Immortality that meander aimlessly.

In a sense, songs like Immortality revisit the ‘repetition, repetition, repetition’ mantra of old. In the early 80s – and various other points in their back catalogue – The Fall made a career-defining virtue out of relentless repetition. However, where this worked effectively was when it was supported by wildly inventive creativity, especially lyrically. The songs on Code that rely on this approach simply lack this quality. Compare, for example, ImmortalityEverything Hurtz or Return to C’ n’ C-S.Mithering or The N.W.R.A.

As with all Fall albums, however, there’s still a lot to celebrate. It contains one of their most satisfying covers; their strongest, most vital single of the 90s; and ‘out of nowhere’ crackers like Married and Two-Face! An entry point for those not quite ready for the more difficult aspects of the canon? Yes. Frustratingly patchy again? Yes.

My “Version”
Despite the fact that we have entered the age of the CD with this album, my versions will always have a side one and a side two…

Side 1: The Birmingham School of Business School / Free Range / Pumpkin Head Xscapes / Time Enough at Last / The Knight the Devil and Death (21:44)

Side 2: Two-Face! / Just Waiting / Married, 2 Kids / Ed’s Babe / Gentlemen’s Agreement (21:14)

Rankings
Starting with the easiest decision, Nottingham ’92 is a strong entry in the wildly uneven world that is Fall live albums. Whilst lacking some of the high points of the top three, it captures this incarnation of the group extremely well, both in terms of sound quality and performance.

1 Live To Air In Melbourne ’82
2 In A Hole
3 A Part Of America Therein, 1981
4 Nottingham ’92
5 The Legendary Chaos Tape / Live In London 1980
6 Totale’s Turns
7 Live In Cambridge 1988
8 I Am As Pure As Oranj
9 Live 1981 – Jimmy’s Music Club – New Orleans
10 Live 1977
11 Seminal Live
12 Live In Zagreb
13 Austurbaejarbio
14 BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert
15 Live 3rd May 1982 Band On The Wall Manchester
16 Live 1980 – Cedar Ballroom Birmingham
17 Live From The Vaults – Alter Banhof, Hof, Germany
18 Live From The Vaults – Glasgow 1981
19 Live From The Vaults – Oldham 1978
20 Liverpool 78
21 Live From The Vaults – Los Angeles 1979
22 Live From The Vaults – Retford 1979
23 Live At Deeply Vale

With the singles, Ed’s Babe is pleasant enough, but struggles in comparison to many of the other releases so far. Free Range, however, is well worth its place in the top ten at this point.

1 Living Too Late
2 Jerusalem/Big New Prinz
3 Kicker Conspiracy
4 The Man Whose Head Expanded
5 How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’
6 Totally Wired
7 Free Range
8 Marquis Cha-Cha
9 Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul
10 Cab It Up
11 Cruiser’s Creek
12 Hey! Luciani
13 Mr. Pharmacist
14 Couldn’t Get Ahead/Rollin’ Dany
15 Look, Know
16 Telephone Thing
17 There’s A Ghost In My House
18 Victoria
19 Hit The North
20 Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!
21 Rowche Rumble
22 Fiery Jack
23 Ed’s Babe
24 High Tension Line
25 It’s The New Thing
26 White Lightning
27 Popcorn Double Feature
28 Oh! Brother
29 c.r.e.e.p.

Code has similar shortcomings to Shift-Work that keep it below Dragnet. Whilst it is more uneven than its predecessor, its high points elevate it above Shift-Work. Just.

1 This Nation’s Saving Grace
2 Perverted By Language
3 The Wonderful And Frightening World Of
4 Hex Enduction Hour
5 Slates
6 Grotesque
7 I Am Kurious Oranj
8 Room To Live
9 Extricate
10 Bend Sinister
11 Dragnet
12 Code: Selfish
13 Shift-Work
14 Live At The Witch Trials
15 The Frenz Experiment

References

1You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide, p164

2The Big Midweek, p346

3The Big Midweek, p347

4You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide, p164

5The Big Midweek, p346

6The Big Midweek, p347

7Thompson, p125

8Ford, p212

9Ford, p215

10You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide, p164

6 thoughts on “YMGTA #20 – Code: Selfish

  1. This is a great read! Thanks. I like how you bring out Scanlon’s contributions – his guitar playing is particularly inventive on this record, I think. It puzzled me that you state Crew Filth isn’t on the original vinyl release though. Cos it definitely is. I quite like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty spot on assessment of the album, definitely could have dropped a track or two but overall an underrated work. I have to say I think Gentlemen’s Agreement is a belter and was a live highlight for me when I saw them at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

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