[Marxism] The Gray Lady reviews the latest from "The Fall"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 13 09:04:19 MDT 2013


NY Times May 10, 2013
Garbled Noise, Playful Blues and Whispery Echoes
By BEN RATLIFF

The Fall

RE-MIT

Mark E. Smith’s ideas are getting less idea-like than ever. The songs on 
“Re-Mit” (Cherry Red), his 30th studio album with his band the Fall, 
resemble a row of unevenly smashed windows, or patches of broken 
concrete in a street — unsightly ruptures within a familiar context, 
potentially more shapely and interesting the closer you look, but 
perhaps not. The contexts here are burly, starchy, midtempo garage-rock 
or punk riffs. The ruptures are the startling uses of words as 
nonsignifiers, as pure sound.

Mr. Smith, from Manchester, England, is 56, and sounds closer to 80; his 
recent singing technique is marked by glottal contortion and frequent 
use of the phlegm in the back of his throat. In nearly every song here, 
his wandering texts, and possibly improvisations, are inhabited by his 
angry-outburst voice, the sound of a man not worth bothering with. In 
“Noise,” he singles out Peter Greenway, the band’s guitarist. (“In his 
hands is a guitar,” and “At least I like Peter! He won’t be twitching 
all over the frets!”) In the dreamlike flow of “Irish” he mentions a 
James Murphy, perhaps the one from LCD Soundsystem, who has called the 
Fall his favorite band in the world. And there are a few semi-narrative 
songs that sound read from a sheet: “Hittite Man” and “Jetplane.” But 
otherwise, he’s gesturing broadly, making garbled oratory without clear 
referent, sometimes through what sounds like a megaphone; over all he 
can seem to be fading into the background, becoming a gremlin in the 
corner, a human gargle.

Rating among recent Fall albums: Better than “Ersatz GB” (the 29th); far 
better than “Reformation Post TLC” (26th); not as good as “Your Future 
Our Clutter” (28th) and a full mile worse than “Imperial Wax Solvent” 
(27th). Go get it.




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