When I first listened to this album, I realized something interesting – whenever I review an album from a band that’s been around for a while, I always find myself applauding their ability to change with the times and to adapt. In the case of The Fall, I’m really glad that they haven’t changed. The fact that in 30 years they’ve never caved into the pressure of trying a new direction or trying to reach a new audience, is remarkable and a true testament to why I like them. After all, how many bands try to change and end up falling by the wayside because their makeovers simply don’t suit them? I won’t name names, but I think you get the idea.
Considering the ever-changing lineup, (according to Wikipedia, your grandmother was in The Fall at some point!) Mark E. Smith is still doing his thing. As John Peel proclaimed, “They are always different, they are always the same.” The songs are quirky, noisy, and fun for all ages. They are as acquired as acquired tastes get, but for anyone looking beyond standard post-punk fare, The Fall is a must-have in your iTunes.
One of my favorite things about The Fall is their song titles and lyrics, as well as their tendency to create intros and reprises. The album kicks off raucously with “No Respects (Intro),” a Moog-saturated little punk number. There’s a very strong ’70s punk feel, but with a little more art and intelligence, which brings to mind P.I.L. or perhaps The Pop Group. “Kinder Of Spine” is a Stranglers-esque number, which segues appropriately into “Noise,” an abstract, spoken-word journey into Smith’s stream of consciousness. Eventually, “No Respects” comes back around as a sort of intermission to the album. “Victrola Time” is like playtime for knob-twiddling synth geeks. In fact, if you’re into synths, this album has quite a few neat sounds and riffs.
In general, “Re-Mit” will definitely be added to my post-punk iTunes mix and will doubtlessly work its way into the ranks of albums I listen to incessantly for weeks. Lastly, it might be a strange comment to make about a band like The Fall, who is not likely to be known for their musicianship, but I also appreciate the production value of the album. It’s noise-y without sounding noisy. It’s very hard to pull off such experimental, atonal music without it sounding like Taking Your Three-Year-Old To Guitar Center Day (don’t worry, I made that up), but The Fall really knows how to work with what they have.