1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Falling Mirror”

As Sly As The Fox – Falling Mirror

As Sly As The Fox – Falling Mirror

As Sly As The Fox – Falling Mirror

Living in the shadows of ‘Johnny Calls The Chemist’, ‘As Sly As The Fox’, which was also released as a single, was perhaps not quite as quirky as the title track from the album from which it came and did not enjoy the popularity of the former. The album was something of a concept album, in which Johnny’s life is taken apart and examined.

‘As Sly As The Fox’ is a darker tune than the title track, feeling slightly sinister and reflecting the murky world in which Johnny lived. Neilen Marais’ somewhat psychotic vocals are at their creepy best while an ominous synth does battle with a rat-a-tat-tat drumming that at times sounds like gunshots. The Fox in question is the Chemist whom Johnny has a crush/obsession with as the lyrics compare her to a fox. ‘As sly as the fox/that’s caught in the box/she hides behind the counter’.

Guitar fans won’t be disappointed as Alan Faull is allowed his 15 second of fame as he cranks up the edginess of the song with some eerily wailing licks. The overall effect is a dark and mysterious song which has a disturbing feel all done in the most intriguing way. The only thing it leaves one asking is what the hell does the line in the song mean when they sing ‘It’s almost as if they’ve drunk astronaut wine’?

Where to find it:
Johnny Calls The Chemist – Falling Mirror May (2001) RetroFresh, FRESHCD 112


Hammerhead Hotel – Falling Mirror

Hammerhead Hotel - Falling Mirror

Hammerhead Hotel – Falling Mirror

Falling Mirror’s commercial success seemed to end once their classic hit, ‘Johnny Calls The Chemist’ had scaled the charts on a number of the local radio stations. In 1986 they went on to record the quirkly single ‘Let’s Paint The House Pink’ which was meant to be a track on their fifth album, but that album never materialised and all went quiet on the Mirror front.

Then, a decade later in 1996, they were back in Tully McCully’s Spaced Out Studios and this time they were serious about putting out an album, recording sufficient material for one including the title track, ‘Hammerhead Hotel’. This is a funky bluesey number that reflects (pun intended) a bit of the psychotic side of the band with references to pyscho’s and schizos floating around the lyrics. Neilen Marais’ vocals are somewhat yowly (with hints of Elvis in there), giving the song an added edge while Allan Faull’s guitars burn a path of blue flame through the heart of this worthy come-back song for the band. The song stomps along at a cool movie hero walking down the street pace. It’s slick and grimy, scary and seductive, out of control and perfectly in control. It seems to find synergies in opposites.

Despite this strong track, the hoped for revival did not arrive at that time as the album only got a download release on the now sadly defunct Rhythm Records download site and only a few tracks from that album can be found on the band’s website (see ‘Hear here’ below for link). But this was not the end of the strangely enduring story of Falling Mirror as in 2010 they brought us their final album (as Faull and Marias), ‘Special Agent Duck’. Sadly in the October of 2013, Allan Faull died of a heart attack while working on a new album.

Where to find it:
Currently unavailable

Hear here:


Makin’ out With Granny – Falling Mirror

Falling Mirror & Granny

Falling Mirror & Granny

There are two ways you can start makin’ out with granny, you can either       storm the loft and pound it out on the piano or head off to the chemist and howl and yowl. Now if that sounds a little cryptic, weird, or downright unsettling then let me explain. There are, as far as I know, 2 different recorded versions of the classic Falling Mirror track ‘Makin’ Out With Granny’. The first appears on the ‘Zen Boulders/The Storming Of The Loft’ 2for1 CD which starts with a ominous piano riff. Then there is the version that appears on the ‘Johnny Calls The Chemist’ CD which start with a yowl and howl of guitar.

Whichever version you chose, both are a bit weird and downright unsettling. And that what makes it such a great song. Nielen Marais’ vocals are edgy, dirty and quite frankly psychotic. The lyrics about a granny holding shotguns to your head, wounded minds and grannies filled with hate, do nothing to ease the sense of unease within the song. Throw into this Alan Faull’s searing guitars (in one version) or a hypnotic, slightly psychedelic but menacing repeated piano riff (in the other version) and you have a perfect mix for the perfect psycho-rock-pop song.

‘Makin’ Out With Granny’ is as tense and edgy as the name of the band. Falling Mirror counjures up images of slow motion scenes predicting impending disaster and bad luck if the mirror shatters. ‘Granny’ is not a slo-mo-vrou, but everything about her screams out a disaster about to happen. The song is the musical equivalent of a good horror movie.

Where to find it:
Johnny Calls The Chemist – Falling Mirror May (2001) RetroFresh, FRESHCD 112
Zen Boulders/The Storming Of The Loft – Falling Mirror (2002), Retrofresh, freshcd124


Neutron Bop – Falling Mirror

Neutron Bop – Falling Mirror

Falling Mirror -  The Storming Of The Loft

Falling Mirror – The Storming Of The Loft (vinyl)

Falling Mirror - The Storming Of The Loft (CD)

Falling Mirror – The Storming Of The Loft (CD re-issue)

Falling Mirror always like putting a rock n’ roll number on their albums and on ‘The Storming Of The Loft’ it was called ‘Neutron Bop’. It’s a foot tapping tune that has a rock-a-billy beat and a few rocking guitar licks thrown in for good measure. Another feature is a ‘driving through an American desert’ harmonica.

The chorus (which includes Tully McCully) echoes Nielen Marias’ vocals, repeating the last line of the first verse which all rhyme with bop. They then add a ‘Bop! Bop! to later verses whether they end in a ‘op’ sound or not.

Those who prefer the more serious of Falling Mirror’s song will possibly not list this as a favourite as it is jaunty and fun filled, but it does show the breadth of talent that made up the group, allowing them to create rock masterpieces like ‘Johnny Calls The Chemist’ and ‘Makin Out With Granny’, but also opening the way for them to pay homage to a style of music they obviously have a soft spot for. ‘Neutron Bop’ does feel a bit too modern for it to sit completely comfortably with songs from Carl Perkins, early Elvis Presley and Bill Hailey but, I am sure, would have been favourably looked up by those luminaries if they had ever got to hear it.

Where to find it:

Zen Boulders / The Storming Of The Loft – Falling Mirror (2002), Retrofresh, freshcd124



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