Sunday, July 6, 2008


The Fall's March 2008 UK tour was something of a strange affair. Supporting an album that had yet to be released, the Greenway-Spurr-Melling lineup didn't really coalesce until the later gigs, finally acheiving a sui generis hybrid of metallic-pop and hard rock that was closer to the hi-octane approach of the Pritchard group than the heavy, acid-peak remit of their predecessors. Greenway's freeform tendencies on display during the early gigs were eventually reigned in and his skittery guitar constructs, along with Spurr's monstrously huge, percussive bass sound, provided the framework for disciplined readings of catalogue material from the two previous studio LPs. On the new "Imperial Wax Solvent" tunes, the recorded takes were the starting points for live versions that were both expansive and focused, with Elena Poulou's tart elektro-synth pop motifs the cherries in the custard. Aside from some head-scratching vocal interjections from a member of the road crew (such as the untitled spoken-word piece that typically opened each performance), on most nights Smith plumbed a loose but brilliant idiosyncratic lyrical trajectory. Among the many high points on this disc are a cavernous, atmospheric "Alton Towers;" a very loud and percolating "I've Been Duped;" "Totally Wired" reconfigured as glam stomp; and "Tommy Shooter" featuring lead vocals from both Poulou and Smith.

01 Latch Key Kid
02 Strangetown
03 Alton Towers
04 I've Been Duped
05 Totally Wired
06 Exploding Chimney
07 Pacifying Joint
08 Wolf Kidult Man
09 "The Empresario of The Fall"
10 50 Year-Old Man
11 Is This New?
12 Mountain Energie
13 Tommy Shooter
(Many thanks as always to The Consortium, and Pike1957 for the absolutely superb live recordings)
(Source gigs in comments)