Review Summary: The old golden savages killed their philosophers..
Coming mere months after their Live at the Witch Trials
wasn’t just The Fall fanning out their sound, but in ways was also Mark E. Smith laying out his statement of purpose – smashing up songs until they were just jittery clusters of primitive tics. Everything about draGnet
is difficult. Songs coast in on earworm riffs and then plug on without modulation until that instant pleasure starts losing all meaning. Words are flung about like beer bottles, at times randomized, at times pointed, always declarative, loud and caustic. It gives the album a punishing, brutalized slant. Despite always leaning more toward the synthetic angles of post-punk, The Fall’s disposition for utter nihilism, bend of chaos, and lager-soaked call for war on sophistication and swank made them just about the most punk-esque groups around, at least from an ideological point. That bleeds through every crack in draGnet
. It’s bratty and sharp-tongued, throws a good punch, and pouts in the interim.
‘First thought, best thought’ is the dictum here. “Psykick Dance Hall,” “A Figure Walks,” the chug-a-chug “Before the Moon Falls,” and the classically sinister “Fiery Jack” are all twitchy mounds of hungover viscera. Plenty’s been said about the concealed nuance in themes and sounds that make up Mark E. Smith’s perpetually-fevered brain, but draGnet
does just fine without subliminal takes. It shakes like exposed nerve, and unceremoniously deploys everything The Fall have to show for themselves. “Rowche Rumble” runs giddily along chiming blips, like a villain from a kitschy flick. “Flat of Angles” slides around like a malformed rockabilly imp. And the numbingly stubborn eight minutes of “Spectre Vs. Rector” will send the mind reeling if it doesn’t jab a hole in the head first.
It’s ugly. It’s crude. It’s f*cking wonderful. And it sent The Fall on their first winning run of albums. They wouldn’t stagger for the first time until about halfway through The Frenz Experiment