The Fall

Reviews

The Fall Live at St. Helens Technical College, 1981 LP+7″

Even as an unabashed FALL obsessive, I’ve had significantly tempered expectations and legitimate hesitancy when it comes to some of the more recent additions to the band’s already sprawling discography—have y’all seen the cover art for that Bingo Masters at the Witch Trials live LP that came out a few years ago? But fret not, because this live album (yes, yet another one) is actually golden; an impressively sharp soundboard recording of the group in full Slates-era glory, with one world-beating classic after another preserved in the amber of audio tape. “Prole Art Threat” is absolutely withering here, with that raw, unyielding paranoid rhythm in complete service to Mark’s rapid-fire rantings, to say nothing of the blazing run through “Rowche Rumble” that barely clings to the rails, or the off-kilter rockabilly-from-hell delirium of “Fit and Working Again,” or the extra-frantic bashing given to “City Hobgoblins”…just a completely unreal set from the band to end all bands, at a point in time that was arguably their creative peak (although they honestly had a few of those). And the design work is even non-embarrassing, you can truly have it all!

The Fall This Nation’s Saving Grace LP

As with most extremely prolific bands, the FALL hit and miss with most of their compositions. This is basic middling FALL, with the repetitious arrangements and obscure, taunting vocals that aficionados of the outfit have come to expect. About every other song is pretty good, and nearly everything is very, very predictable.

The Fall This Nation’s Saving Grace LP

Mark E. Smith has always opted for making ugly, twisted music during the career of the FALL, so I expect him to be sacking just about everyone in the band after this record. They continue with hypnotic drone songs with sly pop melodies, with lyrical lashings against middle-class mores and attitudes.

The Fall Couldn’t Get Ahead / Rollin’ Dany 7″

The FALL are getting easier and easier to take on the first listen. This 45 chronicles a day in the life of a terminal loser over a scrappy, howling song with blasts of harmonica. This flip has the first cover tune they’ve ever done, and it draws more of a rockabilly sound out of this line-up.

The Fall The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall LP

There’s three new records by these guys, and it’s all like this LP. They’re faster and funnier than ever. Mark Smith maintains his tradition of never really “singing” the songs. They confidently thwart trends. They laugh while their peers join mindless tribes or dress up like gauchos just to get on MTV. All three records are available on one cassette.