THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 8: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country On The Click)

The Fall’s twenty third studio album had a tricky birth. In 2003, a release called ‘Country On The Click’ was almost ready to make its way into the world, but plans changed at the eleventh hour. Depending on which stories you believe, the original release was either cancelled because Mark E. Smith was unhappy with the final mix, or shelved because it’d somehow found its way onto file-sharing services and bootlegged. Either way, a second version of the record – now titled ‘The Real New Fall LP (formerly Country On The Click)’ – made it onto Britain’s record shop shelves in October of that year.

Initial reviews were generally positive, and over the years, it’s become somewhat of a fan favourite in “later period Fall” terms, and it’s pretty easy to hear why. The bulk of the material adopts a fairly typical “Fall sound” – if, indeed, there ever was such a thing – but the arrangements are often superb, and Smith appears in particularly great form throughout, armed with lyrical barbs and a suitcase worth of obtuse lyrical references that serve some superb riffs and angular noises. It doesn’t seem to matter which way you approach ‘The Real New Fall LP’, it plays very strongly.

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THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 7: 1970s

The Fall’s early work has been reissued several times, but with a few of their “Fall Sound Archives” releases, Cherry Red Records managed to go above and beyond to give some well worn material the best send off ever. Both ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ and ‘Dragnet’ were released as lavish three disc editions in 2019, but even better, the seminal ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ formed part of a brilliant box set, ‘1982’, later that same year. By making the much loved album the main feature of a 6CD anthology, it set a precedent for similarly great reissues.

Taking the same approach as that box set, ‘1970s’ is a hefty 12CD tome that claims to include all of the band’s work from that decade. It doesn’t – there are notable omissions – but it pulls together a huge wealth of material, including several live shows that have never been officially released. There’s always a question of how much bootleg quality Fall material you need, but as the old fan mantra suggests, “you must get them all”, and the lure of six unavailable live sets here will certainly be enough for the hardened fan to want this set – quality be damned-ah.

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There are two kinds of music fan in the world: those who get The Fall, and those who don’t. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that their sharp edged sounds, lyrical barbs and willingness to challenge didn’t change the punk/post-punk scene. The influence they had on other alternative bands – particularly in the 90s, with the slacker movement spearheaded by Pavement – is often glaringly obvious but, occasionally, there comes a band willing to take The Fall’s influence and use it to create something a bit different. This short tribute from Argentinian band Krupoviesa is a curious affair. They’ve taken four 90s era Fall compositions and reworked them in their own punchy image, repackaged them in a homage to The Fall’s ‘Slates’ – a seminal 80s work – and shared the spoils for free.

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THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 6: Are You Are Missing Winner

Following two excellent reissues (a four disc ‘Reformation! Post-TLC’ and equally extensive ‘Imperial Wax Solvent’), the sixth instalment of Cherry Red’s Fall Sound Archives reissue series turns its attention to 2001 and The Fall’s 22nd LP, ‘Are You Are Missing Winner’, an album which seems to gather more criticism than praise. Although very much an album geared towards the fan rather than the casual admirer, there’s still a lot to enjoy. The material has a rough and ready feel, almost certainly a reaction to the more commercial path the band had taken over the 90s – or at least more “commercial” by Fall standards. It was also recorded on the quick and the cheap, an approach that wouldn’t suit all bands but, in this case, it sort of helped The Fall achieve a factory reset and capture a little of the old ‘Dragnet’ era spirit whilst simultaneously looking to the future with a brand new line up.

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THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 5: Imperial Wax Solvent

Following the tour for 2007’s ‘Reformation! Post TLC’ album, The Fall underwent yet another radical line up change. The hastily assembled American band were no more and by the time Mark E. Smith and keyboard player/vocalist/wife Eleni Poulou returned to the studio, they were joined by British musicians Dave Spurr (bass), Kieron Melling (drums) and Peter Greenway on guitar. It seemed, at first, that this was just yet another in a long line of rotating band members, but unbeknown to everyone at the time, this Fall line up was special. It would be the final line up – one that would go on to be the band’s most stable, lasting the next ten years.

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