There's been a lot of crappy things about the past week (organization restructures at work, another bloody cold, watching £100 of fireworks take about 90 seconds to go 'bang' etc etc) ... But the week will be remembered largely for the being able to spend lots of time listening the upcoming album By The Fall, "Ersatz G.B."
For those of you unacquainted with The Fall (where have you been for the past 30 odd years and equivalent number of studio albums !!!), you may not realise the trepidation that can precede listening to new stuff ... Fall albums can be stunning, average or train wrecks with the past few erring on the pretty damn good, albeit inconsistent.
Here, the same lineup that delivered the last two albums (something of a record in the world of Mark E Smith) churn out the most consistent Fall album in many a year. Now the challenge here is to assess consistency v quality and after 20 or so listens I'm gonna say we're in (by Fall standards) 9/10 for consistency and 7.5/10 for overall quality ... Trust me, this is a pretty special place to be!
One thing that has to be said is that Mark's songwriting and vocals sound incredibly fresh in that he sounds 20 years younger. "Taking Off" for example, sounds like it could have come from 1992's "Code: Selfish".
The two exceptions to this nostalgia are "Greenway" and "Monocard" which are as rough, dirty and excellent as they come (I pity the cat and the dog at this point).
Ela takes vocals on "Happi Song" but otherwise we have the best example in years of the genius of Smith ranting over a gas-tight band.
Trepidation over, brilliance confirmed ... Roll on next year where we will no doubt go through it all again!
8.5 / 10