CD: The Fall – Ersatz GB | reviews, news & interviews
CD: The Fall – Ersatz GB
CD: The Fall – Ersatz GB
The line-ups come and go but Mark E Smith goes on forever
“My friends don't add up to one hand,” intoned Mark E Smith on his 1988 album Frenz Experiment. Maybe not, given his legendary propensity for dramatically falling out with band members, but his albums now add up to considerably more than a single appendage. Ersatz GB is Smith's 29th studio album, and while not necessarily his best, it certainly demonstrates that his appetite for creating angry, angular, wonderfully warped state-of-the-nation addresses is hardly diminished.
Ersatz GB reflects Smith's increasing despair at this sceptic isle's rotten-to-the-core decline. The lyrics are scattershot and bilious, while the music sounds in rude health. His band sets up an infectious, positively gangrenous rock groove and drives it to the limit. This could easily be an immediate follow-up to Frenz Experiment. There is nowt 21st century here. "Mask Search" typically boasts a pounding, neo-rockabilly riff. Only the line "I'm so sick of Snow Patrol" gives away the fact that the track was recorded in this millennium. The format only really varies on "Monocard", with its Hawkwind-style feedback, and "Happi Song", in which keyboardist/co-vocalist Eleni Poulou, aka Mrs Smith, essays a passable Nico parody.
Mr Smith himself is on particularly good form. He growls and rants like a doom-laden demon on the thrashy "Greenway", in which he bemoans having to "wank off the dog to feed the cat”. Smith is the kind of satirist who will never resort to a hack David Cameron jibe when a line about canine masturbation is available. The ever-changing line-ups have meant that there has been a quality-control problem over the last decade. No such problem here. For a change, the employees sound in joyous harmony with the boss. Of course, knowing Smith, that means there will probably be P45s dished out before Christmas...
- The Fall on tour until 24 November
Watch The Fall perform "Dead Beat Descendent"
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