Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fall: Ersatz GB

"Against the stereotype of the aging musician, [Mark E.] Smith has, over the years, steered his band toward a heavier and more truculent sound. There is even a moment of what sounds like heavy metal in the entirely hysterical 'Greenway,' which opens with an irrelevant little piano figure and then drops into a chug that could be an amateur version of Metallica. Smith growls, comically enough to make people across the room take notice. Then he abandons that routine and goes into his more usual mode of loud recitation, which makes no pretense at singing. 'Channel-hopping the other day on Danish rock TV,' Smith says that he has spotted someone in a video who bears a coincidental resemblance to him. He then calls neighbors in his hotel to see if they have a CD player. After visiting their room—it’s hard to imagine that these people invited Smith over—he passes judgment: 'Their tone was snotty and offensive, so I called them / People like that really get on my nerves / To relax, I called my cat.' Entirely logical. 'Mask Search' is a more typical Fall number, alternating between two or three simple patterns. Smith gurgles, 'I’m so sick of Snow Patrol / and where to find Esso lubricant and mobile number.' Here, again, is that marvellous tension of Fall songs—the solid, immovable forces beneath the voice, which refuses to do anything remotely predictable" (Sasha Frere-Jones, "Plug and Play," New Yorker, 11/14/11).
View catalog record here!