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3.8 out of 5 stars
Reformation Post TLC
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2007
As always- another year, another reliably good Fall record. On a par with Fall Heads Roll. Saw them play the final gig at Hammersmith Palais earlier this year (before it was demolished to make way for flats); great live band,- especially Dave Spurr on bass. A multi-layered record which demands repeat listens before it exposes its quality, fully.Excellent.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2007
Perhaps taking the title of 2005's excellent Fall Heads Roll literally, Mark E Smith made the entirely expected move of firing the entire band - except wife and keyboardist, Elena Poulou - before embarking on their 28th year of recording.

Members of Los Angeles bands Darker My Love and The Hill form the latest iteration of The Fall and the opening track, Over! Over!'s, mantra of "I think it's over now, I think it's ending. I think it's over now, I think it's beginning" could easily be a slogan for the band's revolving door recruitment policy.

Even for Smith, Reformation Post TLC is a uniquely bilious album. A version of Merle Haggard's White Line Fever recalls the kind of mangled country and western that Smith clearly finds so fascinating, while Insult Song - where Smith adopts a redneck accent to spin a silly tale about Captain Beefhart - veers between the inspired and the baffling.

The Wright Stuff allows Smith to offer his take on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, while Das Boat's nine minutes of electronic commotion and muttering demonstrate the knotty, cantankerous and perplexing side of Smith's persona.

Duly disorientating and typically slanted, Reformation Post TLC is the equal of anything in The Fall's gargantuan canon.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2007
Admittedly this is not the Fall album to act as an introduction to the canon. For that role I would suggest 'The Wonderful and Frightening World of...'. But nonetheless, for those lucky enough to have been steeped in the music of Mark E Smith, I would say that here, yet again, is the sound of someone who appears to be launching his music career, eager to please and brimming with the quirkiness which is vital to rock music. Others, jaded and grown contemptuous with fame, may grow stale; but Mark E Smith obviously still loves his art. This is quality material, produced by an artist at the height of his mischievous powers.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
#1 HALL OF FAMEon 17 February 2007
2007 gives us a new Fall album, the follow-up to the critically well received `Fall Heads Roll' (2005) - this album was initially started last year with long-time associate Grant Showbiz and a completely different line up of the band. I saw the previous line-up play in Stratford, they were on very good form and played `Systematic Abuse' and `White Line Fever.' However, the band amusingly went bonkers in Phoenix, losing a guitarist, bassist and drummer in an incident that may have involved a banana-skin, a corkscrew, a guitar-amp, and some whiskey. The duo of Mark E. Smith and wife Elena Poulou (keyboards) were all that was left - the band expanding with new membership and some brinkmanship from members of Darker My Love and The Hill. The new Fall band featured here including Orpeo M, Tim Presley, Dave Spurr, Peter Greenaway, and Gary Bennett - who may or may not be appearing with MES and Elena in concerts in the next month or so...

Maybe it was the line-up changes, but I can't help wishing the old line up had stuck around a bit longer - mainly as after a few listens `Reformation Post TLC' fails to match either `Fall Heads Roll' or `Country on the Click (the Real New Fall LP).' It feels like one of those so-so Fall albums like `Are You Are Missing Winner?' and `The Light User Syndrome.' The epic `Das Boat' should have been a 21st Century `Bremen Nacht', but ends up a 21st Century `Crew Filth' - alongside the pointless `Outro' and the brief/patchy/undeveloped likes of `Coach and Horses' and `The Usher' (was this once `The Boss'?) it feels like one of those patchy second sides of a Fall album that became common in the mid to late 1990s (e.g. `Cerebral Caustic'). The album would be better with some of this stuff removed, cutting its 60 minutes plus duration - this must have been the longest album since `Extricate'? (an album which didn't have a dud).

The cover of Merle Haggard's amphetamine-anthem `White Line Fever' is well played, but feels more like a b side than a cover to match a great one from yore like `White Lightning', `Mr Pharmacist', or `Ghost in My House.' The problem is that most tracks here are in the same garage rock style, very well played by Smith's new employees, but a bit samey and flat - and the feeling that 2005's `Pacifying Joint' did this kind of thing definitively. Way less variety, songs like `Over! Over!', `Reformation', `My Door is Never' & `Scenario' all a bit too close sonically.

`Over! Over!' has some amusing backing vocals from Orpheo M. , who sounds a bit like Fatima Mansions-era Cathal Coughlan, which goes well with the central riff from The United States of America's `Coming Down' (as good/bad a rip-off as 1984's `Elves' was of The Stooges' `I Wanna Be Your Dog'!). The epic `Systematic Abuse' is the best song here, reason to buy the album alone - but isn't the main riff an old Fall song? Live I was thinking of something like `Put It Away', but I think it's `Steppin' Out.' A quick reaquataince with the expanded reissues of `Live at the Witch Trials' and `Dragnet' will settle that one!! Will the next album feature a song based on `English Scheme' and `Fantastic Life'???

`Reformation' is alright, though I got a bit sick of MES hailing "reformation!" several tracks in - I guess this one will be fine live and if you like garage rock Fall, fine. `Fall Sound' is another standout, though I'm amused at Smith's self-mythology lyrically and the fact it has a bass-line that is very Peter Hook. I thought of `Sunrise', so surely this should be called `New Order Sound'? To be fair, the great top ten Fall album `The Infotainment Scan' contained a few tracks with Hooky style bass (`A Past Gone Mad', `It's a Curse') - so not that new a thing.

`The Insult Song' sounds like any old drivel that sprang to mind at the same session as `White Line Fever', MES may not be physically lazy, but this feels like a creative lapse. `My Door is Never' is a bit better, and possibly refers to his backing band; while it's ironic that another highlight does not feature Smith on vocals. `The Wright Stuff' (titled after the weekday TV programme on Channel 5 fronted by Zappa-head Matthew Wright) has a keyboard style that reminds me of the first Blue Orchids album and Poulou's vocals that feel like the missing link between the Triffids' Jill Birt and the timeless icon Nico (with a dash of Flying Lizards). `The Wright Stuff' is the `Hotel Bloedel' of this album...

`Reformation Post TLC' feels a bit of a disappointment at present, maybe the interruption was a factor, maybe the backing band are too compliant - the latest Melvins' album shows that a band can absorb members of another band and produce a classic that goes new places. RPTLC all seems a bit Fall as usual. Maybe I'll change my mind over time/maybe not. Perhaps the material will be better live, as often can be the case with the mighty Fall. Maybe the Peel box-set and the many reissues have spoilt my listening, making me measure the latest against all that greatness? Or maybe it's just one of those patchy Fall albums like `Levitate' and `Room to Live'? Since MES has delivered several classic albums at various times - `Witch Trials', `Dragnet', `Grotesque (after the gramme)', `Hex Enduction Hour', `Saving Grace', `Bend Sinister', `Extricate', `Shiftwork', `Infotainment', `The Marshall Suite', `The Unutterable', `Country/Click', & `Fall Heads Roll' - it's possible that the next one or the one after will be another chestnut. Not a bad Fall album, `Reformation Post TLC' is the Fall's 4747477448th album and a skew in my adage that "The best Fall album is whatever their latest album is." Ho and hum...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2011
I've been listening to The Fall since 1982 & can confidently say, without a moment's hesitation, that this is my least favourite of their LPs. It's one of those periodic stinkers that the band release every 5 years or so, akin to The Unutterable or Are You Are Missing Winner? (though that's only my opinion, of course - I realise that both of those albums have their fans). RPTLC, however, is considerably worse than either.

A tedious, nay torturous, sequence of barely completed songs, poorly performed & badly recorded - the band sound confused & bored, Smith sounds half asleep - a massive disappointment after the 5-star double whammy of Country On The Click & Fall Heads Roll. RPTLC is the only Fall album wherein I've not been able to find a single decent track. It's so awful, in fact, that I ended up giving my copy away. If you've not heard the band before, pick any LP but this one as your introduction. And if you're a fan, slip this one to the bottom of the pile & forget about it, eh?
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This is quality ,dont let anyone tell you different.From the opener"Over!,Over!",untill the outro this delivers the goods,i cannnot wait to see the new Fall lineup live.I saw them last year at the Opera House in Bournemouth it was the BEST gig i have been to for ages.Fall Heads Roll was a great record ,but "Reformation" is better .This is the record MES was born to make, bass driven mosh~pit excellence .I would have liked to see members of the last line~up on this record,but this is The Fall ,ever changing,always brilliant & the new line~up is even better how does he do it? This record will be in my player for the next month at least ,it is a very important & quality product.I am listening to it now through headphones & i can honestly say it is the best album i have heard all year
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
What can anyone expect from a new Fall album? Same as stuff before? Same but different? The Fall got into a groove with the last line-up and they were great. I didn't have to try touring the USA with them, though.

This is a real band living in the real world. And the real world is wierder than current politics and counter-politics. The real world is where it all happens in your head.

The new musicians seem to grasp The Fall Sound, to understand what's needed. There's even a great guitar solo that sounds so out of place that it fits in.

Insult Song brings together Beefheart inspirations and recent/current The Way It Is In This Band themes. It's not a throw-away tune. Neither is Das Boot (or whatever). Ever heard a band trying to sound like they were in a submarine? I haven't. I have now. And some spectrally haunting tunes. And the usual The Fall grooves.

This is not a Pop record. The Fall aren't a "chart" band, even if some claim them as influences. But they sort of aren't "serious" either. But...they actually are serious and single-minded. They're a blesséd enigma!

Love the album! It's on the top of my listening pile along with Mastodon and King Crimson at the moment.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2007
The Fall's 2005 album "Fall Heads Roll" garnered some of the best reviews Smithy & Co. had had for a long time (it even got a 5/5 rating from that smug git in the Guardian), but if truth be told it wasn't any more accessible than any other Fall album, despite the press saying otherwise; 'twas a baffling mixture of fantastic pinballing garage rock (almost *raunchy* garage rock) and cranky tuneless nonsense.

"Reformation Post TLC" is equally baffling, but in a different way. Much less guitar-oriented, the latest backing band feature two bassists (rather like cult US Fall acolytes Girls Against Boys, if anyone remembers them), and the tunes are correspondingly bass-driven, with the guitar reduced to telegraphic squiggles somewhere at the back of the mix on lengthy, wirily mesmerising tunes like 'Over! Over!', 'Reformation!' and 'Systematic Abuse'. The album standout, 'Insult Song', could almost be a long-lost Primus song from the early '90s, such is its wriggling, throbbing, bass-centredness (I should point out that the trick of verbally abusing your own bandmates has been done before, on the Revolting Cocks' 'Linger Ficken Good'). The increasingly deranged Smith has adopted a truly disquieting snot-rattling growl on some of the stuff here; if the songs are less musically aggressive than on the predecessor album, they're certainly made up for vocally.

Contrary to some, I really like the 10-minute art-jerk-off 'Das Boot', it reminds me of something from last year's Wizardzz album (the fellas from Lightning Bolt's side band, not the '70s glam rockers).

There's some chaff here, though, especially the warbly cover of 'White Lightning', which sounds like a bunch of drunk squaddies commandeering the karaoke all night despite the landlord's attempts to dissuade them. And the aforementioned 'Systematic Abuse' goes on WAY too long; it seems longer than the (actually longer) 'Das Boot'. But the cool thing about Fall albums, as we all know, is that when you think initially that they're only worth a three-star rating, you only have to listen a few more times and realise they're almost certainly worth a four. Therefore the above rating is merely provisional...
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2007
How many times has Bob listened to this CD? It is very good well produced and crisp! There are some great raspings from M E Smith and great bass playing. My Door Is Never stands out and Das Boat is just odd. Over all it is quite CAN and has a slight (and I say slight) Primusness about it. Top Notch! All I can say is there are two (maybe three Falls) not a lot stands up to Hex Enduction Hr, Grotesque, Dragnet etc, but this and the last two albums have been quality Fall. Live they are in good form as well. Considering all the pap about now and the work of some of their peers the FALL stand out like rock bashed by wind and waves miles above many. Credibility intact. BUY IT!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2008
This is one of those disappointing Fall albums that hits the spot during the high points, but singularly misses it for large parts of the album. I cannot bear either version of "White Line Fever" (/ "Insult Song"), and have never played either tack in their entirety - firm finger on the "skip" button.

"Das Boot" is kind of classy, but more in the vein of "mood music" than boppin' Fall stuff. Not the best, and not typical (if there is such material).

The overall sound of these musicians are deep and grungy, upbeat mostly, and not bad - it's just that Mark E obviously had a few off days when recording this, and the musicians he picked weren't quite inventive and talented enough (or were too intimidated) to carry Mr Smith.

If you have most of the Fall already, then buy this one - if you don't, go for the much better "Real New Fall" or "Fall Heads Roll" (or even "Interim") from their recent releases. Or a compilation / one of their earlier releases.

For me, it means I will wait for a couple of years before getting the next couple of releases cheap - and not risk my hard-earned pennies on a boopler like this one (and "MCR").

Edit: nearly four years on, and this album has long been relegated to my loft - maybe I should dig it out, and see how it compares with the intervening years of no plays. Hm. Or maybe I should leave it where it is, and order the new Fall CD instead.
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