Brix is on the comeback trail and she’s keeping heroic company.
After her recent gripping rollercoaster of an autobiography (which I wrote about here), it is time for the Extricated’s debut album, “Part 2”, as in what comes next. In fairness, “Part 2” is underselling it a bit, as Brix has covered a fair amount of ground in the years – the Fall, the Adult Net, a TV career and a retail empire just show how we are beyond the second part. The same is true of her colleagues in the Extricated.
The rhythm section of the Hanley Brothers, Stephen on bass and Paul on drums together with Steve Trafford are all ex-Fall alumni. Joined by Jason Brown, the band make a raucous, yet controlled, energetic racket belying their mature years.
They are hitting the road this autumn to promote the album. One would expect Saturday afternoon to be a low key time for an inshore promotion but the sense of excitement and goodwill was palpable. Brix’s book revealed how undervalued her contributions to the Fall were and the Hanley’s were the stalwarts that lasted the Mark E Smith course that others floundered upon. People want this venture to succeed and were prepared to show it.
The show was pretty much a run through of the LP. The record is a mix of new material and a reclaiming of some Fall highlights. The Extricated songs have a garage rock sound with a liberal sprinkling of Paisley Underground, perhaps influenced by Brix’s long friendship with Susannah Hoffs of the Bangles. As expected, the band were on the money, with the Hanley’s in particular nailing that hypnotic groove that underpinned so much of their work in the Fall.
Brix was beyond demonstrative, kicking and screaming her way through songs which were obviously close to her heart. This was a physical performance and she owned what little there was of the Rough Trade stage.
The record only came out yesterday, so I’m not familiar yet with the fresh stuff. The emotional hit for many of the audience was the Fall material. We got five songs, which spanned both of Brix’s two period in band. The last two were my highlight. “L.A.” from my favourite Fall LP (1985’s “This Nation’s Saving Grace”) was stunning, driven by its electronic pulse.
The rabbit out of the hat was the encore. “Totally Wired” was just incredible. It was bracing to see the band pitching in with the call and response (“Can’t you see?“), whilst Brix stormed around the stage. The years just fell away. One by one, the musicians left the arena to leave the brothers Hanley’s driving the juggernaut to the end of the road.
This isn’t a trip down memory lane. This is a new and vital part of the Extricated’s storied career. Yes, the Fall songs are affecting but the new tunes stand up too.
The band hosted a signing session afterwards. Brix was reunited with one of her beloved pugs which was being looked after by her god son. There was much love in the room.
If you are in the slightest bit curious, do yourself a favour – buy the album, go to the gigs. You won’t be disappointed.