Today’s review is a guest post by our good friend Stephen over at The Crosshair. Check them out for some really great reviews of music, film, games and TV.
The Fall’s 28th studio album is the group’s first for Domino Records, the home of such luminaries as Clinic, The Kills, and Franz Ferdinand. Despite their impressive roster, the capture of such an iconic band must have been a major boon for the label.
The lineup is, unusually, the same as the last album, 2008’s excellent “Imperial Wax Solvent”. The band sound tight and rigid on this record, and at times, it feels like the conclusion of the experiments that Smith has been conducting over the last decade. It gives us the two best sides of recent Fall, the straight up driving rhythms that made tracks like “Blindness” so great, on songs like “Bury pts 1 and 3″, and “Mexico Wax Solvent”, and the dirty, fat electronics that defined the “Unutterable” album on “Weather Report 2″.
Lyrically, Smith is occasionally, unusually coherent on this album (just). He sings about his health, his life and his public perception. Lines like “when will I quit, when will I quit this hospital” give us a peek through crack in the door into Smith’s life that we rarely have seen before. On “Weather Report 2″, he gives one of his best spoken word sections in years, over a throbbing, pulsing, dirty bass, intoning that “no one has ever called me sir in my life”. He sounds half disappointed, and half proud of the fact, as if he is not sure himself what he means by it. Of course, it is probably pointless to try and intellectualise and probe too far into Smith’s lyrics, as they can be so obscure and cryptic that each and every listener will take something different from them.
The album still provides some of the typically insane moments we have come to expect from The Fall though, like “Cowboy George”, which begins with a spaghetti western guitar riff, only to have a bit of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” drift in, as if Smith had pointed his mic at a hifi playing the record. Or Smith’s many references to “Aqua Rosa”, which after googling, seems to be a hairdressing and beauty college in the Northwest of England. What to make of that – I simply do not know. What I do know, is that this is a solid album that, along with “Imperical Wax Solvent”, cements The Fall’s recovery since Smith’s American experiment, Reformation TLC.
“Your Future Our Clutter” is released on Domino Records on April 26th.