The Fall – Fall Heads Roll (CD)

There is an interesting beat to “Fall Heads Roll’s” first track “Ride Away”. There is a Ian Dury type sound with the almost-spoken vocals of Mark, while the up-strumming of the guitar during the track seems to show The Fall as having a very distinct ska influence. A very unique thing to “Fall Heads Roll” is the very tangential sound of Mark’s vocals, which are given a mush-mouth treatment that would make Dylan proud.

On tracks like “Bo Demmick”, there really tends to be a division between the form and shapeless vocals and what is a traditional, simplistic type of punk arrangement. In much of the same way, the recording of the vocals and instruments seem to be done in a different way; Smith’s vocals are oddly full, like early David Byrne while the underlying instrumentation seems to have all the energy of a garage practice. “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” is a track that diminishes these differences to a degree that really allows the band to shine as one entity. There is no denying that Smith’s vocals are the most powerful piece of The Fall, but there is an electronic sound during this track that goes up right against the vocals for dominance here. There seems to be a decision to opt for a more sedate style on “Youwanner”, where a fury builds up behind Smith’s Iggy Pop-like ranting during the track. When the instrumentation is able to break through, a straight-forward sound is promote that may just be the most driven that The Fall get on “Fall Heads Roll”. “Pacifying Joint” infuses The Fall’s sound with the most electronics of any track here; what results is a sound similar to the Green Day/Devo mash-up act The Network; the sequenced sound of the track really hems in Smith from vocally meandering through the track.

Smith’s syncopated phrases during the track allows this song to be one of The Fall’s most radio-friendly tracks on “Fall Heads Roll”. “Fall Heads Roll” is a definitive statement, one which unites the creepy electronica of Suicide, the straight-forward rock of AC/DC and a fuck-off punk sensibility that never fails to reveal itself at the most opportune times. This is what fans should expect from these legends; a cohesive release that never is happy with the status quo, as evidenced by the continual innovation of the sound cultivated by the disc. Well worth the price.

Top Tracks: What About Us, Youwanner

Rating: 6.8/10

The Fall – Fall Heads Roll / 2005 Narnack / 14 Tracks / http://www.visi.com/fall / http://www.narnackrecords.com / Reviewed 14 November 2005

[JMcQ]

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