Review Summary: You ain't got a house, you ain't got a plot..
After tripping over their own feet with the lethargic Levitate
, mordant outfit The Fall ushered in Y2K on an eager and improved note. Marshall Suite
kicks off on a fiery shout, and for a brief moment, the band seem as colossally loud and singularly vexed as they once were.
Lean spiny punkers permeate the record’s first half. “F-Oldin’ Money,” “Bound” and the deliciously manic “Touch Sensitive” are stormy and absurd, and as fun as you can expect an old sour churl like Mark E. Smith to be. A turbulent cover of the Saints’ “Perfect Day” and the utter chaos that swarms “(Jung Nev’s) Antidotes” round off Marshall Suite
’s noisier slants.
The album starts cracking at the seams in its second act. Evenly split between hollow-bodied kraut-techno and meandering ambience, electric piano closer “On My Own” ends proceedings with the sort of euphoric nonsense tune that used to wrap up your night at a rave-club at 6am, the molly worn off to just a pleasant twitch under the fingernails.
The hermetic aspect of Marshall Suite
salvages its weak sides from swallowing the album whole. None of the songs are stretched out to the sort of punishing, lobotomizing degree The Fall have previously shown themselves sadistic enough to do. It makes the record’s assets sound more potent, and its flaws easily dissolvable. But the losing streak that ends the album still stands stark.
is ultimately too scattered to rub shoulders with The Fall’s finest albums. But in its strongholds, “Touch Sensitive” in particular, it’s found another stray bunch of classics to toss into the band’s ever-malignant canon.