The only 2 things for sure in this life are death and taxes. Oh, and that Mark E. Smith will keep making Fall albums. He's made so many albums that I'm almost certain that I'm not the first writer to come up with that clever quip. The newest album, the sinister New Facts Emerge, drops on Friday on Cherry Red Records and it's a delightful bit of nastiness.
I say that 'cause, frankly, there's something unsettling here and something murky. First big track "Fol De Rol" pounds in, all drums and harsh riffs under the usual Mark E. Smith screed-speak, while the sharper "Brillo De Facto" pursues a nice rhythmic path. Elsewhere, the title cut marches in like something off of This Nation's Saving Grace, all proto-Brit rock pieces stitched up neatly, while the wonderfully-titled "Couples Vs. Jobless Mid 30's" sprawls out in a fine clatter, Mark E. Smith worked up as usual about...something. More interesting is "O! ZZTRRK Man" where the fellow seems to be singing through a megaphone, the effect like one of the more difficult numbers off of I Am Kurious Oranj. The spry "Gibbus Gibson" saunters a tiny bit, a bright spot amid the otherwise dark clutter of New Facts Emerge, while the racket of closer "Nine Out Of Ten" offers up one of the best Mark E. Smith compositions in recent memory, and certainly one of the loudest, I think.
The line-up of The Fall for New Facts Emerge is Mark E. Smith (lead vocals), Peter Greenway (guitar, synths, backing vocals), Dave Spurr (bass, Mellotron, backing vocals), and Kieron Melling (drums). The band here is a remarkably tight unit, throwing down nearly Krautrock rhythmic bits that jostle up against clattering guitars and scratchy Smith yelps and growls. An alternately purring and roaring beast, The Fall here on New Facts Emerge sound a bit angrier than any line-up of this outfit has lately and that's a good thing, Smith recalling the fire of his earlier stuff in spots on this 2017 release. Concisely malevolent, New Facts Emerge is a surprisingly strong showing from The Fall, a band that have released compelling and utterly unique music in 5 separate decades.
[Photo: Uncredited promo picture]