Falling Mirror - Shattered

album cover

Tracks:

  1. Neutron Bop [2.57]
    from the album The Storming Of The Loft
  2. Revolver Wolf [3.45]
    from the album Fantasy Kid
  3. Highway Blues [3.47]
    from the album The Storming Of The Loft
  4. Louise The Astronaut (aka Cosmic Night) [5.15]
    previously unreleased on an album
  5. Wish She Could Leave [3.58]
    from the album Zen Boulders
  6. We Build A Big Fire [5.04]
    from the album The Storming Of The Loft
  7. Johnny Calls The Chemist [4.38]
    Number 1 hit on Radio 5 in 1986
    from the album Johnny Calls The Chemist
  8. Makin' Out With Granny [5.00]
    originally from the album Zen Boulders, this is the re-recorded version from Johnny Calls The Chemist
  9. The Crippled Messiah [3.00]
    from the album Fantasy Kid
  10. I Am The Actor [3.24]
    from the album Zen Boulders
  11. If I Was James Dean [3.11]
    from the album The Storming Of The Loft
  12. We're All Lost In This Universe [4.48]
    from the album Fantasy Kid
  13. You Lost Your Way On A Dreamy Day [4.23]
    from the album Fantasy Kid
  14. Let's Paint The House Pink [3.22]
    previously unreleased on an album
  15. Time (Is A Thief)* [4.06]
    from the album Zen Boulders
  16. Why The Envy Miss Glitter* [5.40]
    from the album The Storming Of The Loft
  17. The Storming Of The Loft* [3.38]
    from the album The Storming Of The Loft

All tracks composed by Allan Faull/Neilen Mirror

Musicians:

  • Neilen Mirror: Vocals
  • Allan Faull: Guitars, keyboards, vocals
  • Tully McCully: Bass, keyboards, treatments, programming, drums, backing vocals
  • Pat Humphreys: Drums, percussion (1978-1979)

Release information:

LP: 1989, Tusk, TUSB 3008
CD: 1992, Tusk, TUCD 3008

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Family Tree (part of the McCully Workshop Tree)

Comments:

Retrospective album compiled by Benjy Mudie.

The CD release included 3 bonus tracks (*) not on the LP version.

Cover for 'Blackout' (1982) by Scorpions, thanks to John Samson.

Blackout

Review:
Kurt Shoemaker, Blanco, Texas, February 2001

"What's one of your favorite South African rock bands?". The answer is two words, "Falling Mirror". 'Shattered' by Falling Mirror is a Best of CD of great songs, wonderful guitar playing, and wild lyrics.

Falling Mirror formed in Cape Town in 1978, taking their name from Nielen Mirror and Alan Faull, lyricist and vocalist, and guitarist, respectively. Pat Humphries, drums and percussion, left after their first two albums, 'Zen Boulders' (1979) and 'The Storming of the Loft' (1980). The other two albums in Falling Mirror's oeuvre are 'Fantasy Kid' (1981) and 'Johnny Calls the Chemist' (1986).

All of Falling Mirror's songs were recorded, remixed, and produced at Spaced Out Studios by the producer and multi-instrumentalist Tully McCully {Real name: Terence McCullagh - ed}. Any CD with Tully's name on it is well worth buying -- check out his work with Crocodile Harris, McCully Workshop and Lesley Rae Dowling, for example.

First released in 1989 on vinyl and then re-released in 1992 on CD (with bonus tracks), 'Shattered's' songs come from all four of Falling Mirror's albums and two subsequent singles, 'Let's Paint the House Pink' and 'Louise the Astronaut' (aka 'Cosmic Night').

The opening track is 'Neutron Bop', modern rock with a rock 'n' roll twist. Rock reviewers refer to a catchy song like this as "infectious", and it is -- try to shake this one from your head. Other high points: 'Revolver Wolf', 'We Build a Big Fire', 'Johnny Calls the Chemist', 'Making Out With Granny', 'We're All Lost in this Universe', 'Lost Your Way on a Rainy Day', 'Let's Paint the House Pink', and 'The Storming of the Loft'. The CD is eminently listenable, a quality work.

To my rock taste, 'Johnny Calls the Chemist' and 'Making Out with Granny' are two fine songs, period. The first is moody, mysterious, and beautiful; the second has a strong undercurrent of violence running under a veil of humor and is driven along by a pulsing bass.

Unfortunately, 'Shattered' is currently out of print, but Falling Mirror is due to get more recognition and attention when Retro Fresh re-releases their four albums on CD this year, along with a new one, 'Hammerhead Hotel' recorded in 1996. (Check out the three MP3s over at the Falling Mirror website). This Texan is one South African rock fan who eagerly awaits more music by one of his favorite South African bands.

Falling Mirror is a cool band name, too.


Sleeve Notes:

"Listening to Falling Mirror is like spending the evening alone in a floodlit stadium: everything's okay here, isn't it?" wrote rock journalist Patrick Lee in 1979 reviewing the band's debut album "Zen Boulders". But then the Mirror were always a bit strange, invoking a sense of nervousness in the unsuspecting listener. Not for them the bouncy, breezy and disposable 'don't-you-know-l-will-always-love-you' transient pop songs - oh no Falling Mirror wrote about the darker side of life: songs of paranoia, derangement, obsession and alienation, aural stories peopled by twisted comic book characters and schizophrenics.

The group comprising of vocalist/ lyricist Neilen Mirror, guitarist Allan Faull, drummer Pat Humphries (who left after the "Loft Album") along with producer/ multi-instrumentalist Tully McCully recorded four classic albums between 1978 and 1988: "Zen Boulders", "The Storming Of The Loft", "Fantasy Kid" and "Johnny Calls The Chemist". Despite wide critical acclaim and a vocal cult following, the albums received minimal airplay with only 1986's "Johnny Calls The Chemist" charting (No. 1 on Radio 5).

"Shattered" is the definitive retrospective of a decade of one of the most innovative rock bands in South African pop history. There's a sense of the macabre running just beyond the headlight beam in every line of this album from the howling blues stomp of "Neutron Bop", the primal chilling "We Build a Big Fire", the desolation of "Highway Blues" to the crunching hard rock of "Makin' out with Granny" and the irreverent poke at TV evangelism on "Crippled Messiah". 17 tracks of manic Mirror at their peak, "Shattered" includes two previously unreleased album tracks "Louise the Astronaut" and "Lets Paint the House Pink".

It's been nearly six years since we've heard from Neilen Mirror and Allan Faull but then time was always irrelevant to Falling Mirror. Will they record again? I hope so, just like the world needs Stephen King, music needs Falling Mirror.

BENJY MUDIE 1992

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