Compare and Contrast: The Fall (again) vs Pavement

If Mark E Smith’s words were to be believed, every band sounds like The Fall in some way, shape or form. Every act from the last thirty years has ripped them off, apparently, such is the enormity of his band’s influence. Seminal as they are, this is patently untrue, but Pavement acknowledged their debt to the band, with the track from their debut album Slanted and Enchanted being more of a tribute than a rip-off.

So as much as a case of compare and contrast, this post’s about enjoying two cracking tunes for the price (and chords) of one.





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Compare and Contrast: Wire vs Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Ok, so it’s broadly agreed that Wire have been immensely influential and are one of the few bands to have emerged from the punk scene to have been capable of producing genuinely clever and articulate songs. They’ve written a lot of seriously good tunes, too, so it’s small wonder that so many subsequent bands have ripped them off. I’ll be coming to Elastica later, but for now, here’s a compare and contrast with a song by Leeds band Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.

Formed in 1981, The Lorries are generally lumped in with the ’80s ‘goth’ scene on account of their geography and the fact that their original drummer,  Mick Brown, would subsequently leave to form The Mission (although whether or not they were strictly ‘goth’ is questionable, but that’s a whole other matter). Still, whether you consider RLYL goth or simply angry post punk, as I do, the vocal melody on the track ‘Hand on Heart’, from their 1985 debut album Talk About the Weather is undeniably similar to that of Wire’s ‘Reuters’ the first track on their classic 1977 LP Pink Flag.






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Compare and Contrast: The Sisters of Mercy vs Husker Du

Ok, so I’m no musician – my guitar-playing is, you could say, rudimentary – and I can’t read music and struggle to play by ear. But I am a music obsessive, and can recognise some songs from the crackle of the needle that preceded the intro (or from the silence between tracks on CDs). Anyway, I’m by no means suggesting that these two songs are identical, just that the bassline of Husker Du’s ‘Blah Blah Blah’ has more than a passing similarity to the Sister of Mercy’s debut single, ‘The Damage Done’.


Given the Sisters’ tendency to appropriate and paraphrase, you might have thought that Mr Eldritch had drawn influence from the US punk band… but the Sisters track predates Husker Du’s by a couple of years. So, coincidence…? You decide!




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Compare and Contrast: Bauhaus vs Hole

It seems only fitting to follow my last compare and contrast which featured Nirvana with a Hole-related compare and contrast. Perhaps even more than Kurt, Courtney Love’s appreciation of punk and new wave was a major influence, given that she was ‘there’ as it were, residing in Liverpool, sharing a place with Julian Cope and befriending Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen at the end of the 1970s and the dawn of the 80s.

There is, of course, a fine line between influence and plagiarism, and the two clips here show just how much Courtney had absorbed Bauhaus’ catalogue when she penned the songs that would appear on the first Hole album.

For the record, I think they’re both great.



Apologies for the lack of moving images with ‘Mrs Jones’: none of the videos I could find had bearable audio, which kinda makes comparison difficult…..



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Compare and Contrast: Nirvana vs The Psychedelic Furs

That Kurt Cobain was a fan of punk and new wave is no secret, and similarly, neither is the fact he was occasionally given to a spot of mild appropriation. Some might call it homage, others plagiarism, and it was the latter perspective that saw Nirvana sued by Killing Joke over ‘Come as You Are’ for its resemblance to the Killing Joke track ‘Eighties’ from the 1982 album of the same title.


I’ll sidestep the subsequent ironic twist which saw Dave Grohl occupy the drum stool for KJ’s 2001 eponymous album here and get down to a lesser know, yet to my ears more obvious lift on the part of the legendary grunge band… check out ‘Sister Europe’ from the 1980 self-titled album by UK post-punk act The Psychedelic Furs and then tell me (honestly) that the guitar line on ‘Big Long Now’, which appears on the Incesticide compilation isn’t just a bit similar…



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