30 May 13
You know, aside from the drug abuse and alleged violence towards women, Mark E Smith seems like an alright bloke. Over the years he’s completed his fabled metamorphosis into the confused, middle-aged alcoholic character he’s played since the Fall’s earliest days. However, unlike most confused, middle-aged alcoholics he doesn’t spend his the majority of days crying over his failed marriage (sorry, Dad) and he’s definitely not prone to sentimentality; the ever-vogue Manchester group lacks a single original member, save for Smith himself, who has been producing thought-provoking, critically-lauded and often experimental post-punk for over thirty years.
Their latest LP, titled ‘Re-Mit’, doesn’t break this trend. Smith’s Withnail-esque rants return in full-force, defying the worryingly-standard dirges found on 2011’s ‘Ersatz GB’. There’s even a diss track – LCD Soundsystem founder James Murphy’s name stands out among the slurred insults of the ninth track ‘Irish’. Elsewhere, “Italians certainly like their Sundays!” provides amusement during ‘Jetplane’, as does Smith’s attempts to cut-off and drown-out the guest vocals on the same track.
Sonically, the album is full of the cheap 70s-synths, kraut-rock posturing and subdued shredding contemporary Fall is known for – ‘Jam Song’ has an almost mathy, post-hardcore feel to it, contrasting with Smith’s rare whispered vocals. ‘Loadstones’ offers one of the most uplifting sounding Fall songs of late, complete with culturally relevant Daft Punk-style vocal manipulation in the background.
If you’re already familiar with The Fall, ‘Re-Mit’ offers another helping of what is essentially well-tread ground – if you’re not a fan, the album is tame enough to serve as a respectable point of entry. Regardless, this offering proves that thirty years and an NHS-sinking amount of illegally-purchased subscription meds later, Smith can pan the same river and still find gold.