The Fall – Re-Mit (Cherry Red Records)

Being a Fall fan has its ups and down. On the plus side you regularly get new material, with a relentless pace of almost an album a year since 1977 – and some of it’s pretty great. On the flipside, that huge discography has a lot of pretty bad albums too, and for every Fall classic like Live At The Witch Trials or Hex Enduction Hour, there’s a forgettable mess like Are You Are Missing Winner or The Twenty Seven Points. Re-Mit, the bands 30th album, falls into that latter category of Fall albums you’ll keep because they’re Fall albums, but won’t be likely to listen to very often. The songs, and I had to take a moment to decide whether I could call many of Re-Mit’s tracks songs, are more formless than your typical Fall album and Smith’s vocals are often an indecipherable series of grunts and parched growls. It starts off well enough, with a short intro and “Sir William Wray” which are reasonably close to the obtuse ragged kraut-abilly punk-prog sound of recent Fall albums. However, Re-Mit quickly nose-dives into nonsensical babble, with Mark E. Smith carelessly growling his way through “Kinder Of Spine” and “Noise”, both of which have performances so loose and tentative, I’m 10-20% sure sections were made up on the spot. Even on their best albums The Fall are a prickly thorn of a band whose good qualities are hard to describe to the unseasoned listener, but Re-Mit doesn’t offer up any new Fall songs, Fall sounds or Fall ideas rewarding enough for me to recommend anything other than avoidance.

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