"Produced in conjunction with Mark E Smith" says the press release. Let's hope he was involved somewhere even if only for microphone gurgling. This is the Fall's millionth LP but the first since 2015's 'Sub Lingual Tablet'- a lifetime in the Fall world. Now settled in a dependable trudge-a-long line up let's hope this has some of the panache recent records have lacked. On weird formats.
Limited Vinyl Double 10" £19.50 BRED706
Limited double 10" vinyl LP on Cherry Red..
- Shipping cost: £4.50 ?
- Limited edition
There are so many reasons to like the Fall but his album isn’t one of them. We’ll get on to its merits or otherwise in a minute but let’s firstly remember that the Fall are one of the few bands in the UK to point blank refuse to jump on the increasingly tiresome nostalgia bandwagon and have managed to get themselves into a position where a set full of new songs in live performance is the norm. Imagine the Stone Roses or Happy Mondays or Peter Hook or whoever is the latest look back bores doing that? Actually I’d rather not. Also they just get on wi' job. No dicking about pleasing sycophantic Twitter followers.
That said you can’t be bloody minded all your life and Mark E Smith knows that you have to let a little light in order to create your best work. The Fall are at their best when they have innovative songwriters with some kind of pop nous that rubs up against Smith’s cantankerous delivery. They are at their worst when they become a kind of post-punk Status Quo, rolling out albums of lazy uninspired sludge. New Facts Emerge is awful. Truly. It opens with one of the few highlights in ‘Fol De Rol’ which rolls along on a riff borrowed lock stock and barrel from Rocket From the Crypt’s ‘On A Rope’ - Smith barking along to power riffs and a chorus that at least attempts dynamics. From the on things get immediately dire. A series of tuneless slops topped off with indistinct growled vocals that are content to just make noises. Even when the early Fall were being ‘difficult’ Smith’s lyrics and vocal dexterity would be of interest. Here on ‘Couples Vs Jobless Mid 30s’ a multi-part series of Metallica-esque riffs pad out an endless slog of prog nonsense with Smith sounding something like the dwarf from Twin Peaks. It’s like watching a teenage band of metal fans checking out riffs whilst simultaneously trying to remove a drunk from the rehearsal room. If Smith just enunciated more - when he does your ears prick up however bad the music has become but generally he slurs, barks, growls perhaps because he knows he hasn’t got too many lyrics worthy of the name.
By the time ’Second House Now’ emerges, all belief that Smith still has something in the locker completely evaporates. A half-arsed Alexis Korner style riff is accompanied by heard it all before vocal rants. This is just over-busy new metal - nothing tight, nor taught, the usual ‘Fall Sound’ dissipated into a wall of guitar wankery. This is worse than Ersatz GB. Lots worse. It saddens me to say that the Fall are now almost totally irrelevant and I suspect from this and their most recent live shows are taking the piss somewhat. 'Gibbus Gibson’ is one of the few moments I’d like to hear again and the second half of the album has some lightness of touch missing in the cack-handed first half but when the best thing to can say about an album is that it is ‘bloody minded’ it is time to worry.
A sad state of affairs that with every passing album looks increasingly unlikely to ever be rectified.
10/10 jonny watts 30th July 2017
What can I say about The Fall other than they blaze an MES lead trail straight through the stream of the mundane garbage that gets spewed out every week? A new Fall album is an event that should be celebrated with a public holiday and the latest one is no exception,you can keep your Elbow and Arcade Fire records if you wish but if I were you I would use them as frisbees along with Radiohead and the rest of the bile. This is proper,it's got hairy balls and is very real and very now it's just a shame that so many folk won't realise it until they are drawing their pensions.The Fall are way ahead check out this latest masterpiece and I dare you to skip bits.
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