The Layman’s Guide to the Layman’s Band

In honour of Mark E. Smith. In plain English, as he’d want it.

The Fall are a complex and yet dumb-simple band who’ve gone through more permutations than there are fucking Presidents, often reinventing themselves more than once in a year. Here’s a guide to a few of those alterations, and then a graphic guide to the rest of those that are note-worthy.

1. Slates



Slates is the easiest Fall album to get into that still has the madman ideas of Mark clearly on show, unobscured by lovely bass-lines or dance beats, and that’s solely because it’s Hex Enduction Hour’s ideas but in a much shorter format. Created to fuck with the record label, as it’s too long for traditional EPs and too short for traditional LPs.

2. Hex Enduction Hour



Hex is bloody great. Sickness and filth just writhing on a disk. Mark’s satire is sharper here than perhaps anywhere before or since, but who cares? He’s a racist dickhead, maybe, but you can’t deny his ability to create weird fucking music that still resonates with any audience (given a bit of patience).

3. This Nation’s Saving Grace



Here’s those bass-lines I was on about. Wonderfully created, way more atmospheric than Hex, and way more traditional. Songwriting is key here, and avoiding every fucking trope of it, too.

4. The Real New Fall Album (A.K.A. Country on the Click)



Tried and true. Certainly you’ll have heard ‘Theme From Sparta F.C.’ – well, this is fucking packed to the brim with Mark’s vitriol, and the backing is properly fucking catchy, properly fresh, and properly experimental. Plus, this is probably the best of the late-Fall. Not to knock down Your Future Our Clutter or even The Unutterable, which contain those dance beats but a few lackluster tracks at the end.

Fucking listen to The fucking Fall. Rest in peace, Mark.

[Tess Dawson] 

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