Top critical review
Ever fascinating Fall
on 8 February 2001
This 1996 release was the Fall's first without guitarist Craig Scanlon, and his absense is telling. After the breath of life that was 1995's "Cerebral Caustic" fearuring the long lost Brixie, the band gradually began to lose it. This album could have been the beginning of the end, were it not for MES's sheer determination to turn things around and bring in Scanlon's replacement in 1999.
As with every Fall release there is some compelling stuff on this, not least the country&western style "Stay Away Old White Train" and the hilarious "Secesion Man" which has MES resembling Vic Reeves club style singing. But unfortunatly the vast majority of the serious stuff on the album sounds rushed, unfinished or just lacking in musical kick. The opening track "DIY Meat" sums it up- a potential classic is ruined by Smith's lyrics lacking bite whilst the guitar riffs are simple and unimaginative. Stephen Hanley's bass ensures "Das Vulture" is something a bit more than MES trying to sing in German, and Chilinism (a song about Halifax Town FC!) is little more than standard pop fare compared to what the Fall are capable of. This was the last album Brixie featured in and her vocal contributions do little to help matters apart from on "Spinetrak" where MES himself sounds a little sharper than on the rest of the album. But as a momento of the final days of MES/Brix "Last Chance To Turn Around" a cover version, is wonderful. All in all, if you're new to the Fall don't bother and buy "Cerebral Caustic" instead. If you are into the Fall you'll already have this anyway.