If you’re a fan or follower of the late curmudgeon Mark E Smith (and whoever was with him that week) you’ll know that The Fall had a habit of releasing several albums a year. These were often just live recordings or compilations, but any completist would be driven to financial ruin if they tried to keep up. In fact, the only upside of Mark E Smith’s death that I could see was that Fall fans could now catch up with everything they had missed.
Not so! Numerous labels have kept the live/compilation treadmill rolling since Smith’s demise, but none of have undertaken such an admirable project as Cherry Red, who are working through their archives to re-release the old stuff and give us worthwhile new material. O-Mit is one of those recordings – a 10” EP of outtakes from 2013’s Re-Mit, released to celebrate 45 years of Cherry Red Records. The EP includes different versions of songs from the album (which was a part of the wonderful 21st century renaissance that the band went through), as well as some new stuff.
The alternative versions are worth the price of purchase alone, with ‘Hittite Man’ (here called ‘Hitmen (Dream)’) cut down to under three minutes, rather than the near six minutes of the original, but retaining that dirty Jesus Lizard-y bass twang. ‘Sir William Wray’ (retitled ‘Gray’) has the punk edge smoothed off in favour of something that sounds like House of Love. I don’t regret saying that, and I’m happy for it. ‘Suddenly, Certainly’ and ‘A Disco (City)’ are new additions and are songs by The Fall. That isn’t dismissive. It’s something that will make fans go “ooooh, good” and non-fans go “ugh, not again”. You know what you’re getting. You’re getting that era of The Fall. Which is great.
This is probably one for those that are already converted, but if a newcomer picked this up then they could do worse. This isn’t an outtakes album that gives you scratchy, mumbled recordings without production (OK, the first Fall albums sounded like that anyway – but you get my point). These are official-release-quality recordings of things that could have been on Re-Mit but ended up in a cupboard somewhere. And as it clocks in at only 13 minutes, you could listen to it in the time it takes to oven cook potato waffles or heat through a substantial microwave meal. What’s not to love? In the tradition of the irrational practice of having to buy your work colleagues cakes on your own birthday, Cherry Red have celebrated their special year by giving us this wonderful gift. Return the favour by buying it, or at least do a whip-round for a Dunelm voucher.
- Words by Angri Peters.
- O-Mit is released via Cherry Red Records on 12th May 2023.
- The Fall official website
- The Annotated Fall website entry for Imperial Wax Solvent
- The Fall Facebook site
- Hitmen (Dream)
- A Disco (City)
- Suddenly, Certainly