(even a bad Fall album deserves 3 stars)
Not everyone knows it, but The Fall are my favorite band. I like everything, from their early dinky keyboard stuff to their Brix Smith pop period and onto their latest release. As any Fall fan knows though, there are definitely songs and albums that sometimes make you question your loyalty if just a little bit. Excluding their 300 live albums and compilations, “Cerebral Caustic” and “Middle Class Revolt” were low points in their regular albums for me, and I wasn’t sure if the band could spring back. Losing most of the members that had stayed the longest didn’t seem to bode well either. Well from the excellent “The Marshall Suite” up to their last, the mixed but still great “Heads Roll”,the band reaffirmed my faith in Mark E. Smith and his cast of semi-regulars. Hell, even hearing “Blindness” from that album in a car commercial gives me grins every time I hear it.
Now here we are with yet another new LP from Manchester’s finest and the results are bringing back not so fond memories of “Caustic” and “Revolt”. There were three traits that both of those albums share with this one: lousy production, blah musicians and the lack of a single interesting song. Harsh but true. “Reformation!” isn’t the worst album ever, it’s just that once you’re a Fall fan, getting anything less than a stellar record disappoints you more than almost any other band could do. Not their most terrible, I’ll still leave that to the dismal “Caustic”, this is still a boring record and certainly not one to send people too if you’re trying to convince them of the brilliance than usually is The Fall. Mark E., quit fighting and losing talented band members, your current line-up just isn’t very good.
White Line Fever (Merle Haggard cover)