Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Witness - Sacred Cow Heart (1986, Twilight/Ron Johnson)

1986 was a doubly good year to be a fan of The Fall - but even die hard acolytes may have been out of the loop.  That year, not only did the band release Bend Sinister, but an unrelated cabal of Fall protegees from Manchester, A Witness, dropped an LP of their own, specifically this one.  Mere footnotes to Mark E. Smith and Co., A Witness nonetheless bore an uncanny resemblance to their inspiration antecedents - right down to the vocals and oblique lyrical motifs in fact.  Sacred Cow Heart (released in the UK as I Am John's Pancreas) is a challenging, but thankfully not altogether off-putting piece of avant rock.  Beefheart-ian monikerd, post-punk salvos like "Smelt Like a Pedestrian" and "Nodding Dog Moustache" weren't exactly grist for the pop radio mill, but the latter for example, boasts a near-irresistible groove and swagger.  And the Fall had precious little in their teaming oeuvre that satisfied as instantly as Witness' "Raw Patch" and "Red Snake."  Even a couple of failed experiments on Sacred Cow don't diminish it's overall effectiveness, though like the Fall,  A Witness' prevailing tenor won't be for everyone.

01. Smelt Like a Pedestrian
02. Red Snake
03. Dipping Bird
04. Sharpened Stick
05. The Loudhailer Song
06. Faglane Morris Wind
07. Nodding Dog Moustache
08. Raw Patch
09. Legs Be Sturdy
10. Hard Days Love