The Fall - Ersatz GB [Cherry Red Records - 2011]One would imagine that after 30 plus years and near on 30 studio albums that The Fall would have creatively run out of stream & sonic invention, but taking on the evidence in hand i.e. “Ersatz GB”- their 29th record, this is far from the case, & actually their still bristling with heady surreal passion & inventive flair…there is indeed more than a few tricks left in this old dog.
The first thing you notice on the albums opener “Cosmos 7” is how pump-up & ready for a fight the band sound. And the next thing you notice is how much higher Mark E Smith's distinctive vocals are in the mix, meaning you can pretty much make out all of his surreal, sneering, funny and punchy singing/ speaking. The album offers up ten tracks in all, and for the most part these are kept around the three minute mark to just over the four minute mark- so everything here is fairly concise, punchy, creative yet approachable.
The biggest single inventive & surprising addition here is the use of metal riffs, and these appear on around three or four of the tracks on the album. But as with everything that drops with in Mark E Smiths creative hands this is metal given that very distinctive & one off Fall touch. Smith even attempts his take on gabbling satanic tinged metal singing on the track “Greenaway” where he sounds both scary, comic and more than a little deranged.
Really there are not many other bands this far into a long & varied sonic career that can still conjure up an rewarding, inventive and approachable album that will appeal to both old school fans and attracted new fans too, but that’s exactly what The Fall have done with “Ersatz GB”. Another great Fall record and one of this years highlights.Roger Batty