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The Fall

The Marshall Suite

Sunday Times (April '99)

Review By Stewart Lee

Last year was significant for Mancunian curmudgeon-mystic Mark E Smith. Most of his band quit, and his ears were synringed. So The Fall's newly audio-aware drill sergeant puts line up 216b through an induction course his flabbier old commandos might have failed.

Touch Sensitive and Shake-Off unleash the trademark moronic big-beat inferno with renewed vigour, a cover of Tommy Blake's rockabilly stomp Foldin' Money posits William Blake singing Gene Vincent, and, just in case things were getting too accessible, the eponymous final track, a study of a minor Mayor of Casterbridge character, offers an ambitious electronic song cycle. Fall supporters eventually begin to sound like the boy who cried wolf. How often can they be "really back on form this time, honest"? But the fact remains, Smith is leading the field once more, and The Fall are really back on form honest.

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