Rob Jones

There’s nowt normal here! This is a record that is not of its time or any particular period and has no indication of a sonic scene. This is a blend of the lunacy meets genius mix of The Monks, shades of Black Sabbath clashing with off-kilter dark demonic prog and then add cowboy chords, post-punk, repetitive rhythms, rockabilly riffs, Stooges stomp, vicious vocals and a lexicon of lyrics from an unchartered terrain.

The majority of over 60’s performers slip into festival cabaret or remain stuck in their fifteen minutes of fame vacuum. However, there is one man who permanently packs a potent punch – and of course, Mr. Mark E. Smith retains a desire to fire fury from the pop peripheries! MES fronts The Fall for their 32nd album and as we all know he is the only constant factor during those records – although several dozen co-pilots have come and crash landed! Smith is the boss but his current team of troops have been at his side for quite a while even though Elena Poulou is no longer on the recording roster.

Segue kicks off proceedings and this ramble scramble is the weird welcome one expects from the Fall Fuhrer before we head into some big hitters many of which have become stage favourites over the last year. Fol de Rol comes out of its corner and beats you senseless with its strength and stamina as guitar guru Greenway cuts through the bass and drum dynamism with his scything string style. The thing is with The Fall it may seem that one groove is going on but there can be a multitude of other motions kicking in as well.  Brillo de Facto boots the beat out with ferocity as the main man growls and scowls but the dips in and out of the drive just show that one seemingly straightforward idea can spawn a series of sub-plots that continue into Victorian Train Station Massacre and then the title track New Facts Emerge. The singer (?) already informs us that he craves drama – as if we did not know!

Couples v Jobless Mid 30’s gets that dark satanic metal vibe going with some early 70’s experimental meanderings as the leader tells a terrifying tale layered with mischievous macabre laughter. Then things turn completely on their head as regards the sound as we head off on a completely alternative path for around the final nearly 180 seconds of a nearly nine-minute piece. However, one absorbs the old John Peel line that The Fall was always different but always the same. Never expect the expected and never expect the unexpected!

Second House Now starts as a 50’s production pastiche before it kicks in with a punk edge. O! ZZTRRK Man has a more direct approach apart from the vocals which appear to be treated with a cardboard box over the mike but it is all in the quest to challenge! Gibbus Gibson follows on what is the most standardised new wave coated offering before those original rock roots leanings smother the excellent Groundsboy. From there it is on to another nine-minute masterpiece as the Nine out of Ten vocalised/instrumental piece features a Smith and Greenway duel before the latter force wins the day with a marauding masterpiece that is akin to a speeded-up Vini Reilly.

New Facts Emerge indeed and seniority in music does not necessarily mean bankrupt creativity. We thank Mr Smith and his troops for their sonic stance! Long may The Fall ascend!