Saturday, March 24, 2007
The Mighty Fall
31 years and counting. Thats how long the Fall have been at it and they are every bit as relevant as the day they were dragged kicking and screaming into the punk scene. While the Rolling Stones turn into the embarrassing grandparents on life support that refuse to die, Mark E Smith and his ever rotating group of musicians stay steadfast to their goal in life; never compromise. They have never and by the sounds of their recently released 26th album "Reformation Post TLC" they never will.
Nothing will prepare the senses for their first meeting with the Fall. The band will force you to unlearn everything you know about music. Forget choruses and verses; they're just details. Its all about ATTITUDE, baby. Stupidity is not an option. There is a laser-sharp wit and intelligence to the whole proceeding centered around the lead singer and only constant, Mark E Smith. He speaks in his own invented code and to get it, you must be similarly endowed with an acrobatic mental faculty.
Here's a dance that is pure hell
Enter at your peril
Take five dead beat steps
Do a stroll
Act like you just got outta jail
You must be repellant
Dance dead beat descendant
(an example from 'Dead Beat Descendant')
The late great John Peel was an important patron and to date they have recorded a total of 24 live radio sessions for him besides performing live on his lawn during his birthday. How cool is that!
Listening to the Fall is like walking down a gray alleyway for the hundredth time and yet finding new and strange things to marvel at. It may be ugly like hell but its still new. Mark E Smith is not a singer in the strictest sense of the word. Rather he growls and barks into the mic barely keeping in time with the instruments raging and tripping over each other. To the uninitiated its all a mess but there is a tangible groove driving each song to its inevitable end only to start all over again on the next track. It should not work but it does, to startling effect. There are no hooks to hang on to, no maps, just blind faith in the genius of Mr. Smith.