It’s The New Thing

The Fall – Post Reformation TLC
January 23, 2007, 1:40 pm
Filed under: The Fall

In case you have never heard of The Fall, here’s a brief history. Post Reformation TLC is the group’s 26th studio album with their debut LP, Live At The Witch Trials, being released in 1977. The band is one of the original post-punk bands and hail from Manchester (well not really any more!). That brings me onto the complex issue of the Fall’s line-up. The only original member of The Fall left is their front man Mark Edward Smith, with the band having undergone over forty different line-ups. The current line-up was rushed on stage during last year’s tour of the US. The tour (in which MES was hit by a banana skin by the lead singer of support band The Talk) was nearly cancelled after the drummer, guitarist and bassist walked out. However the tour carried on with MES snatching band members from the group Darker My Love and one half of experimental duo The Hill: Orpheo McCord. During the tour the band took a short break to record in a LA studio, which is where some of the material for Reformation Post TLC comes from. The rest was recorded at later dates after a short UK tour, which included an epic stop at the Bournemouth Opera House! Well there you go, a brief and vague outline of The Fall, now for the review.

The album opens with an odd cackle from Mark E. Smith on the song Over! Over! and goes straight into the vocals and a thick Fall bass line. The vocals sound a lot clearer than a lot of the slurred vocals on 2005’s Fall Heads Roll which in my opinion is a great thing. The song is a typical Fall song through and through with a hypnotic guitar riff running through the track. The track also includes some incredibly weird MES vocals in the background, a sort of belly grunt, saying the words “I don’t love you and I never did…”

Title track Reformation! follows on with yet another heavy and repeated bass riff with piercing guitars and a chanting MES. The song is a long one at 7 minutes 23 seconds and the repetition goes all the way through the track.

I’ve heard many of times that people are put off The Fall due to MES’s vocal style and the repetition, but I say those people; think about hip-hop, a dance-y electronic beat heavily repeated throughout the song with a guy rapping over the top. The Fall’s music has the same format, replace the electronic beat with big bass lines and guitar and the rapping with Mark E. Smith’s unique vocals, which I guess could be compared in some ways to rap.

Most of Post Reformation TLC is made up of heavy Fall songs with huge bass lines (My Door Is Never Open, Fall Sound, Scenario), however some songs seem to heading in a different musical direction or are simply just filler tracks.

White Line Fever, for example, sounds like a bluegrass track with some pitiful vocals from MES. Insult Song seems to me to purely be a filler track; the track includes MES making up a fictional story about the new members of the band, odd. Das Boat is another one of the weaker tracks from the album. To me it sounds like a Neu! song, and one of their poor ones. Throbbing synths, the incessant beat of a drumstick on wood and chants of “e ee e e” go on for 10 minutes too long. On the other hand The Wright Stuff provides a fresh take on The Fall, with MES’s wife Elena Poulou taking vocal duty over a catchy riff.

Overall Post Reformation TLC is a solid album driven by its big bass and guitar riffs and strong vocals from MES. But when you consider the circumstances in which it was made, it’s a bloody good album.

MP3 : Reformation!
MP3 : My Door Is Never Open

The Fall Official Site
The Fall Unofficial Site

Pre-order Post Reformation TLC