Thirty years have passed since The Fall released their seminal debut, Live At The Witch Trials. While the band appeared to be in decline, 2003’s Real New Fall LP was hoped by many to indicate that the fire and passion that saw them knock out classics like Dragnet, Grotesque and Perverted By Language with almost casual regularity has returned.
Opener Ride Away is as jaunty a tune as they’ve released since their version of The Kinks’ Victoria. The electronic swirls bop along to a ragged reggae skank and a one-two beat with Mark E Smith’s cheeky, intermittent, “hey hey” is a perfect introduction to what is the most frequently brilliant Fall album since This Nation’s Saving Grace.
Pacifying Joint has Eleni Smith’s synthesiser zipping over the kind of dirge guitars that only The Fall do this well. That Smith’s lyrics are delivered in the perfect drawl is but icing on the cake. Blindness, having appeared on both Interim and the Peel Sessions Box Set, will be the track most anticipated by Fall fans. Harking back to their long-standing rule that ‘longer is better’ and sounding meaner than ever, Smith’s band demonstrate the magic that can make seven minutes of the same riff feel like a far too short length of time. Later, Smith deconstructs The Move’s I Can Hear The Grass Grow by literally tearing apart the original’s multi-layered arrangements and turning it into a raucous singalong.
Only the Mark E Smith-less Trust In Me (which, annoyingly, closes out the set) sounds out of place on an album which not only proves that The Fall can live up to their legend but, in fact, are more than able to surpass it.