Business as usual…
Released through Cherry Red on 28 July 2017
Words by Jason Guest
Album number 32 from the indestructible The Fall opens with ‘Segue’, 30 seconds of mad, possibly-but-highly-likely drunken rambling. Okay, here we go. Mark E. Smith’s approach isn’t about to change. And surprisingly, neither is the band line-up. The trio of guitarist Peter Greenway, bassist Dave Spurr, and drummer Keiron Melling are still here, somehow. Ten years in, they must be doing something right. 10 tracks later and it’s easy to see why they’ve survived.
‘Fol De Rol’ kicks things of pretty convincingly, its heavy groove a driving and suitably disdainful opener. ‘Brillo De Facto’, ‘Victoria Train Station Massacre’ and ‘New Facts Emerge’ breeze past in a flurry of groove, grime and acerbity, Smith coughing up his usual mucus-muffled ejaculations and caustic cackles. So far, so ordinary – ordinary for The Fall that is. The dark and dingy sound experiments of the near-nine minute ‘Couples Vs Jobless 30’s’ makes for a compelling listen, as does the rock ‘n roll piss-take ‘Second House Now’. ‘O! ZZTTRRK Man’, like its title suggests, is a mishmash of sounds and noises over which Smith abandons words and melody completely in favour of more of the drunken rants heard on ‘Segue’. ‘Gibbus Gibson’ and ‘Groundsboy’ are the best tracks here and rescue the album – almost – from the pile of albums never to be listened to again. And closer ‘Nine Out Of Ten’, with five of its near-nine minutes being a guitar riff played over and over again, is pointless.
While the defiant surrealism of it makes it a funny and endearing listen, this is not an album that compels replays. Curiously, the unpredictability of the band here feels predictable. A few good tracks and the rest, well, pedestrian, fans might like it. Others won’t see what the fuss is about.
- Fol De Rol
- Brillo De Facto
- Victoria Train Station Massacre
- New Facts Emerge
- Couples Vs Jobless 30’s
- Second House Now
- O! ZZTTRRK Man
- Gibbus Gibson
- Nine Out Of Ten