[sic] Magazine

The Fall – Sub-Lingual Tablet

The decision is always “a great Fall album or merely a good Fall album?”. And the decision is often not correctly defined without the benefit of some time to let the collection bed in. As Sub-Lingual Tablet arrives with me on the day of release it will not be the most considered review. But that’s OK. As I say, time will be the final arbiter as to where this comes to rest in the Fall Fan Hive Mind. Lager open – let’s go.

We are not talking great opener on ‘Venice With The Girls’ although recent live sightings have seen a Fall line-up both long lasting and focused take a little warming up before totally hitting their stride. This album seems to take in much of The Fall modus operandi , Captain Beefheart quirk (‘Black Door’) “classic” Mark E Smith distain (‘Dedication Not Medication’s rhythmic sing song lecture, ‘Pledge!’s kicking of Kickstarter unworthies in a Bluebottle from The Goons voice, over a track of brilliant synth noodles and bass chug), Garage Psych (The marvellous ‘Junger Cloth’, “so simple, yet disgusting in a stroke” wherein analytical psychology confusingly meets Elizabeth II and Prince Philip). ‘Stout Man’ is a Search And Destroy Garage Punk blast that I see after typing IS a Stooges track. The albums undoubted centre piece is the Krauty/Spacey ‘Auto Chip 2014-2016’. MES is pretty damn sure of his bands abilities as he lets them stretch out over 10 minutes, they sound fantastic, ringing Paisley Underground guitars chime before increasing levels of freak out while the rhythm section nail it to the floor. MES is less mannered and has the touch of a master on it. It’s impossible to better but on the brief Alex Harvey indebted ‘Snazzy’ we get a great, great MES vocal. The closing pairing of ‘Fibre Book Troll’ (“I want a fucking Facebook troll”) and the not terribly angry ‘Quit iPhone’ are almost playful – FBT ends with whistling and ‘Quit’ is catchy as it is throwaway.

Where it will finally sit in the discography is difficult to know – as always – but it is a masterful juggling act over multiple styles while sounding confident and truly the work of a band with an identity almost as strong as their leader.

Sub-Lingual Tablet was released May 11th 2015 by Cherry Red