The Fall – It’s The New Thing (1978)

Format: Single
When released: November 1978
My age at the time: 7
Have I heard it before: No
What music did I like: whatever was on the radio

In 1978 I was far more interested in buying Star Wars action toys and reading Whizzer and Chips to care much for music. I listened to whatever my dad had on in the car, which was invariably Gilbert O’Sullivan or ‘The Best of Bread’. I had an older brother who was just getting into music, but certainly not the new leather thing.

As a child, one thing that terrified me was the concept of punk. My childish brain saw them as an army, similar to the Vikings, who were swarming legion like across the country. I remember hearing of riots in Aylesbury once, a town 10 miles from my childhood home, and became sick with fear that it was only a matter of time before they were storming up my street.

So I would be delighted to hear that The Fall are not punk, but resolutely post punk. And this, their second single, is incredible. It is the sound of world-weary band who have seen it all, not the first rumblings of a group that would dominate the indie landscape for decades. I love everything about this song, from the out of time keyboard that kicks things off, to the incredible drum track.

Various Times is completely different to the flip side, but every bit as good. As with other early songs it is the drums that elevate the track, subtle when they need to be, as full of guts and power in their most bombastic moments. There is so much going on, from the chiming guitar and the music box keyboards in the background. Its incredible as well to think of Smith, as a 20 year old, having such a grasp of language and structure.

I wasn’t aware at the time – I was too busy cowering from punks – but interest in The Fall had already started. They had recorded for John Peel, and were ready to release their first album. On the strength of these singles, had I been a teen rather than a kid at the time, I think I would have been eager and ready for it. Would it let me down…


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