A bit late but here's my thoughts / review.
This sets the scene - strident, punky, direct.
It's not the most complex song, as some have suggested, but this doesn't matter, it's like a mission statement, an introduction for what's to come - and, like much of the album, fun!
02 Taking Off
This conjures memories of late 70's new wave (Television, Blondie), paranoid cityscapes, and features some beautiful keyboard textures. Marvellous sound to this one - one of the biggest achievements of this album for me is the impressive production. This track just builds and builds, wonderful.
Another great production! How can anyone complain about this song when it *sounds* this good. Doubters! Don't listen to this on your pc speakers or a crappy portable (surely the only reason anyone could be not 'getting' this album) - try a decent set of headphones or hi-fi! Still don't get it? The mind boggles...
Nate features blistering, squawking guitar, which along with the pummelling drumming and quieter but solid bass propels the song, as MES rasps, gargles and intones his rhyme.
04 Mask Search
The Fall back in rockabilly mode, had to come sooner or later. MES' voice is close mic'd here...At face value this seems less demanding, but like much of the album, relax and let it in, and it's fun like more of this album, and keeps thing rolling and the pace fast. Enjoy.
The fun quotient is upped more with this demented classic!
After the introductory it's 'good enough for...' gargles, MES' spoken style here reminds of a John Cleese rant, and it's just hysterical (more for the way it's said, than what's said)! Topped off by his ridiculous telling-off-a-naughty-schoolboy catcalling "Green-way!" The 'w*nk off...' reference was clearly thrown in (apparently a commonplace saying somewhere or other) as it just works, it's a ridiculous song, so don't expect it to make sense, just enjoy...
06 Happi Song
From the ridiculous to the sublime. Like All Tomorrow's Parties mixed with electro pop. This song and Greenway are my favourites, and they are like chalk and cheese.
For some perhaps, myself included, an acquired taste. However once this grinding guitar rock track breaks into widescreen stereo, it's very absorbing.
08 Laptop Dog
Like much of this album, this is catchy and fun. It somehow reminds me of REM songs(!) - less for the vocals or sound, more the structure/composition.
09 I've Seen Them Come
Great riff! This is one of the tracks that was a 'late grower' for me. The Wings comparisons are interesting...I've never been a huge fan of Wings, that song is too discordant for me (heresy, I know)...I actually liked the earlier version of Wings, performed live 'in '82 - and curiously the chords here remind me of that early version than the more familiar one people seem to be comparing it to.
Once more, not a particularly complicated composition, but the production and performance are what matters, seems a good idea as a penultimate track - as it's both dramatic and fun. Good to have those low creepy backing vocals again too!
10 Age of Chang
This didn't overwhelm me at first, but on listening to it a bit louder now, again I'm impressed by the production techniques and performance. It's a bit lo-fi when it comes to MES' vocal, but that's deliberate and for effect, and seems to work. I must keep listening to this one a bit louder!
It's a shame this album has attracted such a wide range of opinions as the songs' relatively simple structures might mask the density of the production (ie so people might be quick to think those who dismiss the album are 'spot on'). The arrangements are very well executed. The sound may be deceptively thin in places for some: there are 'heavier' sounding Fall LPs, but there's a lot a going on here. A lot of textures, synth whines, low droning back vocals (both on Greenway and Happi Song, and adding to the humour element of the former).
I feel this album is more likely to be a grower for many if they give it a chance, just as even a track like Monocard is for me.