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The Fall: Wise Ol’ Man

Mixed bag from the venerable post-punk institution.

Things have to come to a pretty pass when the most entertaining thing Mark E. Smith has done in years is apparently pissing himself on stage at Glastonbury 2015. By the same token, The Fall are still capable of moments of jaw-dropping brilliance that justify the hosannas meted out by their faithful followers.

It’s precisely those two extremes that characterise this ragtag collection of new material and remixes from last year’s Sub-Lingual Tablet. As displayed by the title track and its instrumental equivalent Mark E. Smith is the least interesting element here.

Keyboard player Eleni Poulou shares vocals with Smith on the former which sounds all the better for it. The other new song, All Leave Cancelled, manages to crystallise the best and the worst of The Fall within its running time, as the band’s atonal explorations are hampered by Smith ranting incoherently like a drunk at closing time in Satan’s own boozer.

Elsewhere, Dedication improves upon the original thanks to added electronics and squelches that bounce like an inflatable castle. For the hardcore fans, this does little to enhance the pickled poet’s reputation.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.