Rightyho, a few reviews of Falling and Laughing from googling round. If I know about it, it’s here - rather than just cherrypicking the good stuff. If you know a review then let me know.
Sweeping the Nation - MYSPACE INVADERS: A band named after an Orange Juice song with a manifesto, a song dedicated to Daniel Kitson and David Kohl top of their Top Friends? It’s like Falling And Laughing are trying too hard to attract our wandering schmindie eye. So here come the Field Mice, Postcard and Sarah Records namechecks and the wry bedroom diarist lyrics, but there’s a strength to the writing that marks them aside from many suddenly on the same stylistic journey
Indie MP3 - With a name like Falling and Laughing you might expect an Orange Juice tribute band but in this case you would be wrong. They describe themselves as “Sonic Youth on Sarah Records crossed with Jens Lekman fronting The Wedding Present” or more intriguingly as “tweecore” or “chordgazing”!
Personally I think they sound like an old fashioned jangle pop band but with longer songs! They have three songs available for streaming on My Space where they sing about romance and of Sweden. Of the three Lights Out Birmingham is my favourite where there are definite hints of the 1980’s Postcard scene although these are more Aztec Camera than Orange Juice. I was grabbed by these tunes on just their first couple of plays and there are not too many songs that manage to grab my attention in such a way. Very promising.
And a few live reviews! Most recent ones go at the top, oldest ones are… the ones at the bottom
Blue Whale Blog (Jeff Stukka) - Which leads me nicely into Falling and Laughing, whose Belle and Sebastian influence is as obvious as it is pleasurable. It’s nearly three years since I last saw Falling and Laughing down at a criminally empty Flapper.
My thoughts at the time, if I recall were good songwriting let down by poor arrangements. Not a problem for them this time, as they’re down to two, guitarist Duncan and his sweaty drummer friend Darryl, the sweat being a measure of his work ethic according to the performance scale he handily shared with us throughout the show. The pared down approach is a good thing here as the songwriting is allowed to shine rather than being lost beneath duelling guitars. Decidedly gentle and rather lovely.
Indie MP3 - Despite their name Birmingham’s Falling and Laughing are no Orange Juice clones. Aside from the odd jangle here and there the band bare no resemblance musically to the band from whose début single they took name. They open with their best song Lights Out Birmingham and the subsequent songs are poor re-hashes. That said they are mightily entertaining on the banter front which I guess takes the audiences attention away from the shambling performance they were witnessing. I am pretty sure that with more fine tuning they could become a very good band indeed but they do need to decide whether they are going to take the Field Mice or Sonic Youth route.
Tropical Hotdog - Falling and Laughing were up next, now temporarily out of service (in-between bassists) but seriously, look out for their forthcoming return because these are one of my favorite choices for 2008. Duncan is quite simply the god of chord-gazers. Like Death Cab on a folk-trip. Ben Gibbard style vocals morph across key-shifting melodies into that Nick Drake sound…But I’m not that up on my folk so forgive me. Drums galloped gleefully along with ‘No-Root-Notes-Allowed’ bass lines – like Sea and Cake with less jazz. Awesome stuff.
Liquor is Quicker - Falling and Laughing are a new local phenomenon. They like the word twee-core, yet are entirely unconvinced that it accurately describes their sound. Think the raw energy and chaos of The Wedding Present. Think the warm faux innocence of Death Cab. Think the comedic cheeky charm of Chas and Dave. This acoustic set was a nice contrast from their usual louder electrical sound, giving a gentle and warm edge to their interesting and creative rhythmical arrangements. Fuelled by incessant drums and pretty harmonies, they seem at their best at the extremes, for example the wistful ‘Lights Out Birmingham’ or else belting hell out of their instruments for a finale. Recommended.
Jeff Stukka - So, what to do on a Saturday night, eh? Velvet Texas Cannonball and the Mobsters at the Sunflower? Little Dipper, Sunset Cinema Club and Foreigner at the Soft Rock Café? Exaggerate my Irish heritage to the point where I’m a direct descendant of Niall Noígiallach and Father Ted with all the other Broad Street cunts using St Pat’s day as an excuse to tank themselves up on Guinness and Magners? Go on, have a guess which one I went to. That’s right, I went to the shockingly empty Flapper, where the arrival of Lady Stuka and I doubled the number of paying customers in attendance. I can’t be bothered telling you much about the bands. If you’re not prepared to go and watch them when there’s so little else to do then you probably don’t care that Richard Burke’s “Michael Stipe riding Paul Simon whilst Jose Gonzales fellates a watching Bob Dylan ” acoustic stylings were actually pretty bloody good and you will equally be as disinterested in the news that the pleasantly engaging personalities of Smith’s influenced Falling and Laughing were weaker than the sum of their parts, rarely combining their obvious musical skills in a pleasing way and thus undermining the quality of songwriting that was genuinely there underneath horribly disjointed arrangements and a guitar sound that bordered on incitement to murder. Still, balls to you all and your lust filled, close to the meat, fun-chasing ways. We enjoyed ourselves didn’t we, Lady Stuka. (She says yes).