- Time (Is A Thief)
- I Am The Actor
- Makin' Out With Granny
- Dreamer (We Shall Be Free)
- When The Lights Went Off In New York City
- The San Diego Sniping Event
- Archie And Juggie Went Down To The Store
- What Are We Here For?
- Wish She Could Leave
- Boy And Girl Alone On A Throne
All tracks composed by Allan Faull/Nielen Mirror.
Recorded at Spaced-Out Sound Studios, Cape Town.
Produced and arranged by Tully McCully.
- Nielen Mirror: Vocals, percussion
- Allan Faull: Guitars, keyboards, vocals
- Pat Humphreys: Drums, percussion
- Tully McCully: Bass, synthesizer, vocals
LP: 1979, WEA, WBC (X) 9011
CD: August 2002, Retrofresh, freshcd124 (2 for 1 re-issue with The Storming Of The Loft)
Falling Mirror MP3s are available to buy online at
Rhythm Online Music Store.
With a title like 'Zen Boulders' one can be forgiven for expecting a big Stones influence on Falling Mirror's 1979 debut album. However, the influence seems to come more from Pink Floyd than from Mick Jagger and the boys. Alan Faull's guitar work creates sonic landscapes of vast beauty in a similar vein to Floyd. Add to this Nielen Marais' brittle vocals that walk a tightrope between calm sensible and cracked psychotic, with a foot in each camp, but never taking sides, and you've got an album of serene psychotic beauty.
It's not only the guitar and vocals that grab one's attention, but also some wonderful piano playing that gives body and atmosphere to the album. Tracks like 'Time (is the Thief)' and 'I am the Actor' (both of which appear on the 'Shattered' compilation) benefit greatly from the added keyboards and those familiar with the version of 'Making out with Granny' on the 'Johnny Calls the Chemist' album may be interested to note that the screaming guitar intro to this classic song began life as some dramatic chords pounded on the piano.
The trade mark rock 'n roll number is 'Archie and Juggie went Down to the Store' which I don't think is as musically astute as ones that followed ('Neutron Bop' and 'Encounter in a Take Away Shop'), but lyrically surpasses the others, telling the story of America's favourite High School cartoon kids, but stripping the comic of it's innocence by having Reggie shooting Archie. All this action occurs around a cheerful chorus of 'Chom-Chom-a-Romma-Rom-Chomma-Rom-Chom'.
In 1979, the Boomtown Rats were riding high in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with their song about a high school massacre in San Diego 'I don't like Mondays'. The Rats' hit was regarded as controversial, but one wonders how the world would have reacted had they heard Falling Mirror's take on the same event, choosing to entitle their song 'The San Diego Sniping Event'.
The album ends with the epic 'Boy and Girl Alone on a Throne' which starts quietly with some beautiful Hotel California-ish guitar picking but builds to a frenzied orgasm of guitar and drums that leaves one highly satisfied and reaching for a cigarette.
Although not a huge commercial success, Falling Mirror's debut gave the SA music scene something to reflect on. The album balances delicately on the rim of the teacup of the psyche, not quite reaching the safety of the saucer of sanity but also not plunging into the murky brew of drugs and madness. One can say that 'Zen Boulders' rocks. Not in a barrage of drums and guitars kind of way (other than the finale of the closing track), but more in a refined edgy mellow kind of way.
John Samson, London, UK, November 2001
'Makin' Out With Granny' (3.30) was re-recorded and extended to 5 minutes in 1985 and released on Johnny Calls The Chemist.
South Africa's Rock Classics
South Africa's Rock Legends