Review Summary: Country On The Click? It's a hit!
It is not possible to write anything concerning The Fall without a rundown of their chequered and storied history, so I won't deal with impossibilities.
The Fall, in all their various guises, have been chugging away since the late-1970s and represent perhaps the best in British eccentricities. Under the stoic leadership of vocalist Mark E. Smith, the group have had myriad line-up changes since day one and remain on the underbelly of the music scene.
After some dark moments in the late-1990s and early-2000s, The Fall returned with a (surprise, surprise) brand new line-up and a fresh sound.
2003/2004 saw the long-awaited release of 'Real New Fall LP; Formerly Country On The Click' after an earlier version of the album was released onto the internet. The Fall were forced back into the studio to remix and re-tool these songs.
What it became was a brilliant, unrelenting and ultimately insane collection of music.
Beginning with a mild dance beat, 'Green Eyed Loco Man' is a foot-stomping opener. With a dirty amplified riff and Smith's garbled but strangely poetic lyrics ("To wear chanel/You have to shave first"), it sets a pace that the rest of the album follows neatly.
The next three tracks perhaps represent the best of the modern output of The Fall.
'Mountain Energei' (sic) is carried by a sinister bassline and contains lyrics that name check Dolly Parton and Lord Byron (in the same sentence no less!). Whilst the music could never be described as complicated, it's the unerring simplicity and assuredness that keeps you hooked until something completely throws you off.
And that something is the terrific 'Theme From Sparta FC'. A catchy riff, anthemic lyrics and heavy to boot, it's almost as if *gasp* The Fall are trying to crack the mainstream!
No such luck. The following tracks take you back into The Fall's dark and dangerous world.
'Contraflow' goes on and on until your head aches from the mish-mash of noise that by rights should not be listenable, whilst 'Last Commands Of Xyralothep Via MES' finds Smith lamenting various discrepancies with an almost progressive feel to it.
The rest of the album continues much in the same vein. 'The Past #2' is an oddity. Frenetic, strange and with a strange organ hook, you can't help but want more.
'Loop '41 Houston' is a Dean Martin cover, which tells you all you need to know about how strange this album gets. Instead of relying on crooning, we get a rickety bassline and a solo that sounds like it's played through an old CB Radio. Imagine The Fall playing in a barn deep in the American West, and you get the idea.
The last three tracks presented on the album differ in style greatly, but I don't think I can spoil anymore of the CD for you.
Perpetual weirdo Julian Cope dismissed the album thus: ""...you hear that new Fall record and it's just more embittered semi-mystical coded fraudulent ramblings about NOTHING nothing NOTHING."
But you know what" Until he releases something like this, I believe he doesn't have a right to judge.