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Magpie Heights

Blue Orchids

Magpie Heights

Label: Tiny Global Productions

Genre: Rock / Pop


  • LP €26.99
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Martin Bramah, lead guitarist in The Fall, was the final original musician to leave the band and inarguably the most important factor in the band's original sound. What Bramah took with him on departure was a sort of hazy psychedelic vision featured so readily on The Fall's debut, Live At The Witch Trials, and continued through his work with Blue Orchids, even if that lineage was obscured somewhat by The Fall's popularity and consistent stream of releases. For Bramah, the decades after The Fall were fraught. After regrouping as Blue Orchids with fellow Fall castaways Una Baines and Rick Goldstraw), initial releases rose to notoriety with two caustic and intense 7" singles, The Flood and Work, along with the more varied collection of songs featured on their debut LP, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), which topped the indie charts and remains a touchstone for many artists. Personal issues within the band made progress difficult.

The 12" EP Agents Of Change, introduced changes to their sound (in part due to their work with Nico - yes, that Nico).

But after its release, silence followed. Bramah sightings were elusive - a solo on an album by Una's band The Fates, a 12" single with mesmerising songs performed, oddly, in a sort of reggae style. A short second stint in The Fall. You get the picture. Any semblance of a career only began with a series of archival and new releases starting in 2015: a new studio album, followed by another new album nearly every year thereafter. Each sold better than the last, until this year's debut release by HOUSE Of ALL, a 'side project' featuring four other former members of The Fall. It was a hit within days of its announcement, in no small part to its immediacy - recorded in three days - and a healthy dollop of scandal . . . the spectre of retrospective threat to MES's hegemonic rule of The Fall. Early 2024 year will see a second new studio album from HOUSE Of ALL, plus a deluxe 2LP / 2CD version of Blue Orchids' debut The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain) with dollops of unheard material.

And still, Magpie Heights is an unexpected addition to Bramah's canon, which will have increased by three brilliant album in under a year. That's more music, in fact, than Bramah released in his first three decades after leaving The Fall. The Face Of Time harkens back to the psych-garage of The Magical Record Of Blue Orchids, As My Vision Cleared makes a case for Bramah's unique stylistic sense within the realm of lysergic folk balladry, a kind of dark glam in Tableau Vivant . . . and seven other wonders. With a line-up now stabilised around Martin Bramah, longtime cohort John Paul Moran, Tansy McNally (whose painting adorns the cover), DeSelby Lewis and Howard Jones, the band may be coming to a city near you on the November / December 2023 tour. The expanded reissue of The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain) will follow shortly after.