The Fall
The Infotainment Scan


4.0
excellent

Review

by butcherboy USER (123 Reviews)
June 17th, 2017 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I've sold my car, thrown in my job..

In the spring of 1993, The Fall unexpectedly found themselves hipster critical darlings, sending that year’s The Infotainment Scan to the #9 spot on UK charts. Though the album is markedly more commercial in sound, its acrid moods, doused in Mark E. Smith’s patent lyrical sulphur, might suggest that its sudden short tryst with radio appeal was due to little else than the recycling of trends, and the fact that the rising tide of alt. rock bands often credited The Fall as obscure inspiration. To fans and followers however, Infotainment Scan’s success contained little mystery.

Most everything clicks on the album’s top half. Opener “Ladybird (Green Grass)” is a plait of twitchy starts and stops, Smith by turns assertive and imploring. The song never loses its kick after rushing out the gate, and still stands as one of Mark E. Smith’s finest latter-day moments. The kraut-toe-tap of Sister Sledge’s “Lost in Music” hits just as hard, and from there, Infotainment Scan races through one off-kilter walloper after another.

The production of Infotainment Scan, more robust and strident, was the band letting go of the scrappy, rugged leanings of their past work. Given that their writing was starting to gain a new, albeit warped level of ambition, the benefits are made instantly obvious. Whereas the first of their 90’s output, Shift-Work and Code: Selfish sounded wispy and detached, here the songs feel like they’re catching up with The Fall’s growing scope. Smith even turns in an unorthodox melodic performance, as the band take on “I’m Going to Spain,” originally penned by UK soap actor Steve Bent, and infamously considered to be one of the worst records ever made.

Thinking back to it, The Fall’s knack for staunch abrasion made them prime candidates for industrial music, and so their first full-bodied dabbles in metallic disco turn out propellant and stirring, making for some of the album’s strongest moments. They bury “Paranoid Man in a Cheap Sh*t Room” in a swirl of concentric momentum and “Glam Racket” pulses away in its relentless proto-march.

After deploying all of their new arsenal from the outset, The Fall begin stumbling, and so the second half of Infotainment Scan bottoms out somewhat. This is where the glossy production starts hampering proceedings. The album’s blemishes, which previously would have hidden in the weedy charm of lo-fi production, become glaring sores. The closing trio of tracks range from aimless ambience to wilting electro-dance, and end Infotainment Scan’s victory trot on a limp note.

The Fall’s sudden chic draw didn’t last long, and by the time Middle Class Revolt came out the following year, they were already being relegated back to punk’s ‘old mean dogs’ status. It was their second and last drift through the public eye, the band themselves staggering on unbothered, amid a mess of resentments, smashed-up gear and broken pint glasses.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
June 17th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Fall No3.. and a new album coming out in a month.. My end of the year list grade curve has just been fucked with personal bias..

SandwichBubble
June 17th 2017


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Glad to see you agree that the second half of this is inferior to the first half.

Digging: R. Stevie Moore - Children's Museum

zakalwe
June 18th 2017


26971 Comments


Nice one Pat dude.

Album is class, a good entry point.

danielcardoso
June 18th 2017


11770 Comments


I hear Pavement takes a lot of influence from this, need to check.

butcherboy
June 18th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, zaka..



dan, this is indeed a decent starting point, but their first five or six albums are unbeatable.. sheer fucking vex

SandwichBubble
March 13th 2018


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Bad news, bumped this down after relistening ☹

butcherboy
March 13th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you're dead to me..

butcherboy
March 13th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you're dead to me..

Papa Universe
March 13th 2018


20525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

am i alive?

Digging: Arteries - Arteries

SandwichBubble
March 13th 2018


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

so nice ya said it twice butch ;)

site bugged for me too



@Papa I think so

Papa Universe
March 13th 2018


20525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

imma go rate all the ones i remember with certainty

SandwichBubble
March 13th 2018


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That's what I tried to do when I started on the site, and now I'm figuring out my memory's not so good.

Papa Universe
March 13th 2018


20525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh... should i refresh it too? even though i remember everything from Reformation onward to be hot garbage?

SandwichBubble
March 13th 2018


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"even though i remember everything from Reformation onward to be hot garbage?"

no you're completely right on with this, rate away!

Papa Universe
March 13th 2018


20525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aight, I did enough. others will require the ol' refreshening session

SandwichBubble
March 13th 2018


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hex Enduction at the top, as it should. Stellar ☆

butcherboy
March 13th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Uni, would I dig Taeko Onuki?

Papa Universe
March 13th 2018


20525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't see why you wouldn't. Start with Sunshower.

bloc
August 3rd 2018


55002 Comments


Digging this one a lot. Really nice clean production on it too.

Digging: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

SandwichBubble
August 3rd 2018


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"no you're completely right on with this, rate away!"

Past me was wrong, I'm negging myself



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