Cherry Red Album Reviews – Dec 2013 by Long John

The Fall – The Remainderer EP


‘Message for yer! Message for yer!’

Hot on the heels of an astonishing 30th studio album. The ever-prolific Mark E Smith and his latest incarnation of the ‘The Fall’ have released ‘The Remainderer’ a 6 track EP on 10’ vinyl to add to their mightily impressive back catalogue. According to their label Cherry Red Records the new EP is serving as something of a ‘bridging point’ between their last album ‘Re-mit’ and a 31st studio album, which is due to be released in 2014. In the meantime ‘Fall’ devotees who can’t get enough of the ever confrontational and uncompromising Mark E Smith, and the myriad of musicians who have made the ‘Fall’ one of the most enigmatic bands in Britain will have their appetites sated with 6 brand spanking new songs.

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One thing you can always rely on with ‘The Fall’ is that they will never serve music to their fans on a plate. To the casual listener ‘The Fall’s’ music can seem impenetrable, and Mark E Smith’s lyrics can seem illogical and oblique as Smith has clearly never cared for the conventional and some might argue limited song structure of verse, chorus, and verse.

‘The Fall’ has never really made commercial music and do not conform to any musical stereotypes, which makes them enduringly fascinating. When listening to ‘The Fall’ the music often seems cacophonous, unfocused and at times ready to fall apart. However, despite Mark E Smith’s policy of hiring self-taught or non-musicians, their music is deceptively accomplished. Despite all the line up changes ‘The Fall’ have still maintained their rather ragged and jumbled sound, and this must have something to do with the musical ideology and policy of Mark E Smith.

‘The Remainderer’ has that familiar and recognizable sound that only ‘The Fall’ can pull off. The Snarling, wayward vocals, distorted jagged guitars, prominent bass and an often menacing drum sound. The EP kicks off with the title track and it is Mark E Smith’s somewhat inaudible and growling vocals that dominate this track. He sounds almost inebriated and there are 2 sets of vocals recorded, which intertwine with each other to stunningly cacophonous effect. ‘Amorator! Has a chugging and almost ‘Rock a Billy’ like drum sound, and Mark E Smith’s slurring almost speech like vocals seem out of kilter to the track itself, and observational lyrics like ‘never forget, your brain is a bubble of water’ left my own brain slightly muddled to say the least.

The EP steps up a gear with ‘Mister Rode, which begins with a menacing repetitive guitar solo that slowly gets louder, before the almost sloppy drums kick in and then we find Mark E Smith’s vocals back on form as he repeats the line ‘I gotta name, I gotta say’. This song sounds like it could grind to a halt at any minute, and it kept me riveted for the whole 6 minutes and 39 seconds to see if it did just that. ‘Rememberance R’ is another lengthy track that sees Mark E Smith gargling the opening few sentences, before reverting back to his inebriated speech like vocals, and the song takes a bizarre turn towards the end with a spoken word interlude by the engineer Simon Archer who vents his anger and disappointment at bands that reform. Don’t we all.

‘Say Mama-Race With The Devil’ is an enjoyable romp through 2 brilliant Gene Vincent tracks, and ‘The Fall’ combine these classic 1950s ‘Rock n Roll’ tracks into a 3 minute medley of ‘Psychobilly’ Bliss. ‘Touchy Pad’ brings this EP to a somewhat confusing end as Mark E Smith duets with his wife and band mate Eleni Poulou. She almost screams in an out of tune fashion ‘Where’s My Time Machine’ while Smith slurs oddball lyrics about ‘Asians With Weak Bones’ and then spits ‘Your Lousy Country Stinks Anyway’.

This is an EP that was not ‘made with the highest British attention to the wrong detail’, and it probably will not win any new converts as the latter day ‘Fall’ are only preaching to the converted. However, Mark E Smith remains as enigmatic and idiosyncratic as ever, and trying to sum up this EP or any of ‘The Fall’s output in a neat sentence is difficult, but John Peel’s pithy ‘They are always different; they are always the same’ is about as good as it gets. BUY HERE!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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