Depending on how you count, they will tell you it’s The Fall’s studio album number 30, but that is a disputable point: after all, it means you throw Slates into it. Which in all honesty was just an EP – even if a damn good one. Well, anyway: 29 or 30, hardly an issue here. What really matters is that Mark E. Smith’s farcical, drunken post-punk onslaught shows no signs of fading away. And let’s be thankful for that. Because Re-Mit is a fantastic album.
The reviews, however, have been surprisingly lackluster. You hear presumably smart people talking about self-parodies and Smith failing to bring in the tunes. I mean – what the hell. It’s The Fall, you either say yes to this or you say no. Surely we are not dealing with The Arctic Monkeys here.
Re-Mit is classic Smith or, in other words, it’s yet another Fall album. A mad conductor-alcoholic leading his disheveled orchestra that is tightly playing a most glorious and imaginative concoction of insane grooves and almost-melodies. Terrific production on this one, I should note. We kick off with the brief intro ‘No Regret’, a few songs later to be reprised as a real track (and a good one, too), and then an exciting Grotesque-like keyboard riff plunges us into the single ‘Sir William Wray’, possibly The Fall’s greatest song since ‘Cowboy George’.
Other than Smith’s brilliantly abusive vocals, next couple songs don’t have too much to offer, but that’s if you choose to disregard the brilliant little guitar line in, say, ‘Noise’. There’s much greatness bubbling under. After that the intensity becomes overpowering. I decline to comment on the man’s lyrics, but musically this stuff is addictive and wickedly appealing without being remotely catchy. So much to get lost in: ponderous bass, occasional keyboard lines, crudely intricate guitars and even some goddamned French language thrown in for good measure. The final three songs are particularly inspired, with the closing ‘Loadstones’ being one of the album’s more accessible numbers.
Well, simple as it may sound, Smith still has it. Re-Mit is as idiosyncratic and awe-inspiring as ever. Depending on your point of view, you may consider this frightening, hilarious, ridiculous. What you absolutely can’t deny is the blinding greatness of the whole thing. If you are looking for reference points, I won’t give you any. Re-Mit sounds like The Fall. And if you can’t take comfort from that, your life has been wasted. Personally, I’d rather take Mark E. Smith fucking around for 40 minutes than The Knife masturbating for 77.
Released on May 13 2013 via Cherry Red Records