Middle Class Revolt
(Vox June 1994)
Things are looking up for British rocks most uncompromising outsiders. The veteran Mancunians finally achieved Top Ten success with last year's 'The Infotainment Scan' while frontman Mark E. Smith recently found himself scowling on 'Top Of The Pops'. What next? an OBE for services to music? dance overlord Andrew Weatherall was originally scheduled to produce this-the Fall's 18th album-but crossed sabres with the formidable Smith and was replaced by Rex Sargent. So however crunchy the jackbooted stomp of 'War', however sparse the sneers on 'junkman', lush layers of guitar and solid-machine driven rhythms still yoke the 1994-model Fall tightly together.
As usual, the scathing verbal ammunition flies freely, from the turbo-rockabilly rant 'Hey Student' to the self-explanatory finale 'Shut Up', all served with generous helpings acidic lyrical wit (" You're sleeping with some hippy half-wit/Who thinks he's Mr Mark Smith"). It's punchy, sour and the perfect antidote to all those pantomine-punk pretenders. And yet it's business as usual from The Fall; no pop gems, no dazzling surprises. Mark Smith probably does deserve an OBE, but you can't help wondering just how wonderously that Weatherall collaboration might have sounded.
("Suburban housewife, four door saloon, liver transplant...ah" accompanies a pic of MES)
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