[sic] Magazine

The Fall – Ersatz GB

I’ve known a handful of people over the years who have followed The Fall , each of whom had pretty decent music taste. It may have been taste that veered towards the more abrasive end of the musical spectrum, but this hasn’t discouraged me entirely. Still, I’ve never delved into the intimidatingly massive Fall discography, not even the universally acclaimed stuff like Hex Enduction Hour . The occasional Fall track has piqued my interest, like ‘Dr Buck’s Letter’ from The Unutterable, which appeared on a magazine cover CD – but I’ve never got any further than that. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really warmed to Mark E. Smith’s voice, nor found the music particularly interesting. Any vague interest I have lies in Smith’s lyrics, which are hilariously acerbic at their best.

So, what interest does latest album Ersatz GB hold for the non-Fall-loving music fan? Very little, I’m afraid. On first listen, the only thing that stood out was the way Smith enunciates the name ‘Nate’ on ‘Nate Will Not Return’, turning it into a whistle by dragging out the last syllable. It amused me. The music, on the other hand, is pretty boring meat-and-potatoes pub rock, played at various speeds and with various amounts of keyboard wibbling over the top. The only significant variation is a female vocalist on ‘Happi Song’, which is neither better nor worse than the surrounding songs. Just plodding, forgettable, droning indie pop/rock.

I take my hat off to Mark E. Smith for still plugging away, but he’s not inviting me to explore his discography with this stinker.

Order at Cherry Red