The Fall – Wise Ol’ Man EP (Cherry Red Records)
Vinyl / CD / DL
19th February 2016
9 / 10
Alternative post-punkers return with a new EP. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
The unmistakable sound of Mark E Smith mumbling his incoherent lyrics over wild instrumentation is a welcome sound my friends. The by now inevitable industry orgasm at the thought of new material is as much a part of our life as that annoying Geordie pair on Saturday night TV.
The latest release in the form of the Wise Ol’ Man EP contains sevens tracks headed by the brand new title track. Also containing an instrumental of the lead and five other remixes and extended versions, it is characteristic of The Fall.
Opening with Wise Ol’ Man, a potential punk-pop anthem perhaps capable of gaining them mainstream airplay, would have fitted nicely into the bands chart tickling alongside Hit The North, Victoria and Ghost In My House in the late 80s, it bounds along from start to finish with some addictive backing vocals and Marks incomparable drawl. Classic Fall it may not be, but it’s an indication of Smith’s ability to write not only near avant garde material but also highly commercial affairs should the urge take him.
All Leave Cancelled is a cavalcade of gnarled guitars and consistently mixed up drum patterns which sees The Fall in a more recognisable form in a mammoth eight-minute presentation. Dedication Not Medication and Face Book Troll are also included in remixed versions from last year’s brilliant Sub-Lingual Tablet album and are suitably pulled apart and re-assembled, and Venice With Girls stands out as pure class.
Facebook Troll/No Xmas For John Quay steams along with a killer guitar lick and bass line and some superb distorted vocals moving from a studio version to a live version after four minutes adding a whole new dimension.
All Leave Cancelled and Wise Ol’ Man are also represented by instrumental versions with the later containing the chorus strapline as an added tease. The trademark sound is still there and Smith continues to impress.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.