Album Reviews / Interviews

What We've All Been Waiting For
- Album Review by Louder Than War

Album four from the Richmond garage-mod mainstays.


Purveyors of refined Punk Rock For Gentlemen the Fallen Leaves release their fourth long-player …..


The Fallen Leaves keep it simple. Simple Music for Complex People.


As their Manifesto says on their website


No jeans. No t-shirts. No cover-versions. The Fallen Leaves believe in the DIY Punk ethos. Song, Sound and Performance are all. Recordings are live, minimal overdubs.  The Fallen Leaves ask you to  remember …… Simple and easy are not the same thing.


I will follow there lead.


If you have the first three albums, then you will probably buy this one.  You won’t be disappointed.  It’s more of the same, only different songs with a few new, subtle twists and differences.


This is a band of older gentlemen who hark back to an era when pop music was straight-forward.  Songs about thewhat we've all fairer sex.  Guitar-sounds which cut through the air like a knife through butter.  Crooning, choruses and music to dance to.


Yet – at the same time there is a depth to (some of) the songs;  I’m A Man and the Good Man are existential pleas about externalized crises.


Guitarist Rob Symmons played on the first two classic Subway Sect singles and when I described him in a review once as ‘the John Le Mesurier of Punk’, the next time I saw him he was wearing a badge with the words printed thereon.


This is the only album released this year which mentions and quotes from Nietzsche, Camus and Aleister Crowley, and at the same time has musical nods and steals from New Rose, Walk Don’t Run and the Velvets ‘Guess I’m Falling In Love’.  For that alone it’s a work of some kind of genius.


On the inside sleeve of their releases the band always include an obscure, profound quotation by a famous thinker or writer. Something to make you think, about life, existence, how we treat our fellow man.  And on the other side of the page it says;


‘That’s right’ say the Fallen Leaves.


It always make me smile. And it sums them up in a way.  They don’t deal in original thought but they agree with all the great utterances ever said.  And you could say the same of their music.  It’s all been done before.  But very rarely is it done with such style, grace and elan,  Such imperfect perfection, such herculean effortlessness, such disciplined abandon, such innocent knowingness and a quivering stiff upper lip.


The Fallen Leaves are old-fashioned gentlemen.  ‘We are not a computer band’ explained Rob Symmons to me when I asked after a sound cloud or stream of a track from the album.  To him a cloud is something in the sky and a stream somewhere you picnic besides.


in 2017, the year which will be looked back upon as the year the planet went insane, the Fallen Leaves only comment was a detached. wry ‘It’s a Funny World’.


I did some scientific calculations with an I-pod, the ‘Leaves back catalogue, a paper and pen on my daily commute, (giving each song a point out of 3 for excellence) and the result was: this is the second best of the Fallen Leaves albums thus far, excluding the ‘Punk Rock For Gentlemen’ compilation which is, indeed,  the canines crown jewels.


Ged Babey




What We've All Been Waiting For
- Album Review by Fear & Lothing Fanzine

I’ve seen The Fallen Leaves a few times over the past decade and each time thought to myself, I like this band, I must check out their albums. But for some unknown reason, I’ve just never got around to it. When this album arrived in the post, I put it on and promptly spent the next 32 minutes kicking myself. Why hadn’t I paid more attention ? This is a great record but it’s taken me until their fourth album to catch up ! Okay, I’ll be making up for lost time now, but if you haven’t already heard this band, don’t make my mistake. It’s starts with a glorious, reverberating chord that tells you, even before the first song starts, that this is going to be fun. Musically, the band are based around the English-branch of Sixties garage rock (The Who, Downliners Sect, Pretty Things) whilst also evoking the spirit of the Velvets (their livelier moments) and perhaps The Modern Lovers. But it’s all done with a very English Punk Rock approach, keeping things raw and idiosyncratic while maintaining the insistence and energy. Rob Symmons and Rob Green were both members of Subway Sect (although at different times) and drummer Brett Ascott was an original member of The Chords, which gives them a fine pedigree they effortlessly live up to. Trust me, whatever I write here means nothing because all you really need to do is play this album loud. If it doesn’t give you a kick in your taste-buds, then you just don’t deserve it. Pay attention !




What We've All Been Waiting For
- Album Review by Vive Le Rock

Album four from the Richmond garage-mod mainstays.


A decade-plus now of working the more discerning corners of the bar venue circuit, powered by a seemingly unshakeable faith in their 'Minimum R&B' philosophy, the Fallen Leaves stay true to their ethos for this, their fourth album. While the years have seen a few line-up changes, the core duo of ex-Subway Sect types Rob Green and Rob Symmons continue to steer the ship, purveying their particular strain of garage punk, all performed with a quaintly gentlemanly air and the cultish ritual of on-stage tea drinking. Ten cuts, no covers, of unembellished bar-band rock 'n' roll, all performed with an impeccable knife-edge to the dog-tooth slacks, and a respectful tip of the hat to the early Who. The Fallen Leaves continue to tear it up; an enduring beacon of uncluttered basement club authenticity.



Hugh Gulland

Punk Rock For Gentlemen
- Album Review by Mojo

Vinyl vindication for London garage rock masters.


Three albums into their career as standard bearers for a particularly British brand of guitar music - at that fine spot where The Pretty Things meet Pretty Vacant, over a decent cup of tea - The Fallen Leaves have taken 12 songs from those CDs for this vinyl LP collection of their self-styled 'Minimum R&B'. Vocalist Rob Green and long-time compadre Rob Symmons, superb original guitarist with the Subway Sect, formed the band in 2004, and have co-written all the material. These finely-crafted songs are sharp and direct with a minimum of overdubs, yet the band also know the value of well-placed backing vocals. After all this staccato activity, each side closes with a longer track (Shining and Trouble, respectively) in which they stretch out to great effect, mirroring the force of their live shows. An excellent showcase of the band at their best.


Max Décharné



Punk Rock For Gentlemen
- Album Review by Uncut

Fiercely minimalist garage rock from London gang.


'Minimum R&B' they call it, this pared-back, essentials-only take on rock'n'roll that The Fallen Leaves have been pursuing and honing for a decade now. It helps that they've got it in their blood - their guitarist is Rob Symmons, from the first lineup of Subway Sect, the idealogical standard bearers for what could and should have become. If Punk Rock For Gentlemen proves anything, it's that Symmons has still got it - there's a subtle art to the way he spools out clipped, ringing solos and chiming, vibrant strands of rhythm guitar.

Symmons and vocalist Rob Green are the core of the group, writing the songs and keeping the vision streamlined: other players have come and gone, including for a time Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, and Phil King of (among others) The Jesus & Mary Chain, Felt and Lush. Cherry-picking from their four albums and various singles, Punk Rock For Gentlement is an object lesson in making the most of minimalism: there's nary a stray note, the melodies are finely tuned, the playing in the pocket, weaving together R'n'B, garage rock and distant memories of Northern Soul. And it's on vinyl, as it should be.



Jon Dale



Rakish exponents of rock'n'roll on why less-is-more
- Uncut Magazine Interview

"It's a nod to The Who when they were great," Rob Symmons says, reflecting on his group The Fallen Leaves' 'minimum R&B' motto, "all crazy pent-up energy and individualism. They lost it later, it all got complicated and over the top. We want to bring it back to the minimum, less really is more."

If you're looking for an ethos for this decade-strong outfit, circling around the duo of Symmons and Rob Green, 'less really is more' nails it nicely. But there's an intensive focus to their playing and writin, too: they may argue against linear development - when I ask Symmons about his great guitar playing, he argues, "It hasn't developed at all. I don't consider myself a 'guitarist'" - but the Punk Rock For Gentlemen compilation suggests the ongoing honing of a vision, one grounded in the "sharp, stinging, ringing cut-through on '50s and '60s singles."

You could trace that back, too, to Symmons' time in the first lineup of Subway Sect. "We had it right from the start, like Buddy Holly," he smiles. "You don't need any more than guitar, bass, drums, élan and panache. As I wrote in 'Don't Split It', 'learn to unlearn' and I've never changed."


Jon Dale

If only we'd known
- Album Review

There’s no mess, no waste, no filler, all killer.
No lapses or indulgences just top quality one-take rock’n’roll or Beat Pop or punk rock.
For once the Sixties influence comes not from the over-rated Beatles but the Troggs, the Pretty Things and the Who and all manner of obscure acts circa 1967


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If only we'd known
- Album Review 2

The album’s opening slice of freneticism, “Against The Grain”, steals its title from the English version of  Joris-Karl Huysmans’ 19th century study of decadence  - “A Rebours”. The track is a scintillating piledriver that underpins the confidence of the band.


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That's Right - Album Review

If you want half-an-hour of expertly crafted riffs & jangles, backed by a tight, pounding rhythm section, check this out. Its a generally fast & urgent ride, driven hard by Rob Symmons' wondrous guitar playing.  The album abounds with sharp & clever arrangements & riffs, showing that yer trad beat group can still master a variety of sounds & textures.



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Gig Reviews

Westgarth Social Club, Middlesborough
- Gig Review

The Fallen Leaves are brilliant. They get better and better. It’s all helped by the superb sound. It really is good and makes you wonder why, if someone can get a PA to sound this good in a tiny room that probably holds 100 people max, big venues with big budgets so often get it wrong.

The Fallen Leaves have a new album out. ‘What We’ve all Been Waiting For’ isn’t officially released until later in the month but it’s for sale tonight and we’re treated to some songs from it. 'Prodigal Son', 'Lavender Girl', 'Motorcycle Girl' slot in perfectly alongside favourites such as ‘Trouble’ and ‘My Phantoms’.  “Simple songs for complex people”. I’m not sure these songs are simple. They’re tight, tuneful, foot tappingly catchy, loud, danceable, sing alongable, jangly garage punk songs. Rob Green’s unique voice complements Rob Symmons infectious guitar playing. Symmons really does give his Telecaster hell. Matthew Karas on bass and Buddy Ascott on drums provide a tight, infectious backdrop to the vocals and guitar. Whilst acknowledging the influence of early Who and bands such as the Ramones it’s fair to say that The Fallen Leaves are unique. The Fallen Leaves sound like The Fallen Leaves.

At 50 minutes it’s a short set. But it’s a great set. Promoter Dave Griffiths said later that The Fallen Leaves reckoned it was the best they’d ever played. Imagine just how good that actually is.

Brilliant gig.


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229 The Venue, London
- Gig Review

Next up were The Fallen Leaves and as I am a regular at their “Minimum R’n’B” club nights at the 12 Bar (on the first Wednesday of every month for your information…) I am used to seeing the band crammed onto that venue’s tiny stage. The stage at the 229 however is massive, so it was nice to see the band afforded some space and this suited them down to the ground, giving front-man Rob Green the chance to show off his full repertoire of tricks. Rob is a proper singer, and with his vintage microphone he’s a crooner in the grand old tradition which contrasts perfectly with the visceral attack of Guitarist Rob Symmons instinctive, primal playing style.


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12 Bar Club, London
- Gig Review

There's been a real buzz of positivity around The Fallen Leaves recently, what with their sessions with Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music and on Resonance FM and a glowing review in the Sunday Times by comedian Stewart Lee for their latest album "If Only We'd Known". They just keep on getting better gig by gig, and more people seem to be turning up to the 12 Bar each time they play. Rob Symmons seems to be intent on wreaking as much damage to his guitar as possible without actually smashing it on the stage. Banging it and shaking it to get optimum power, he twists the strings to breaking point, spilling out classic Garage Rock riffs to songs such as "Passing By" and "Trouble".


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