Thursday, 15 February 2007

Album Reviews: Reformation Post TLC

Perhaps taking the title of 2005's excellent Fall Heads Roll literally, Mark E Smith made the entirely expected move of firing the entire band - except wife and keyboardist, Elena Poulou - before embarking on their 28th year of recording.

Members of Los Angeles bands Darker My Love and The Hill form the latest iteration of The Fall and the opening track, Over! Over!'s, mantra of "I think it's over now, I think it's ending. I think it's over now, I think it's beginning" could easily be a slogan for the band's revolving door recruitment policy.

Even for Smith, Reformation Post TLC is a uniquely bilious album. A version of Merle Haggard's White Line Fever recalls the kind of mangled country and western that Smith clearly finds so fascinating, while Insult Song - where Smith adopts a redneck accent to spin a silly tale about Captain Beefhart - veers between the inspired and the baffling.

The Wright Stuff allows Smith to offer his take on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, while Das Boat's nine minutes of electronic commotion and muttering demonstrate the knotty, cantankerous and perplexing side of Smith's persona.

Duly disorientating and typically slanted, Reformation Post TLC is the equal of anything in The Fall's gargantuan canon.

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