The Fall – Grotesque

ARTIST: The Fall Grotesque_cover
TITLE: Grotesque
SINGLES: None on the album proper, but two good ones (How I Wrote Elastic Man, Totally Wired) on the deluxe version. Both went to #2 on the UK Indie chart.
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Fall were a secret in the US for a long, long time.
LINEUP: Mark E. Smith, Mark Riley, Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The third album by the Fall is an improvement over their second, and Smith is hitting his stride as a conspiracy-fueled lyricist.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They’re still a shambling mess at times. Off-kilter and unique musical phrases repeat. Smith’s vocals seem more like stemwinder rants on a town square than typical lyrics. But through all of this, there are some hooks and some definite pop undertones here – you just have to find them underneath the surface.

Musicially, this incarnation of the Fall seems very much in tune with Smith’s vision. The Hanley provide a good backing section for Scanlon and Riley’s guitars and they enhance Smith’s ramblings without getting in the way. In fact, most of the songs feature members of the band as co-writers with Smith.

This album as a whole probably won’t convert anyone TO liking the Fall, but it will keep them as fans.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Steve and Paul Hanley are brothers –as Steve brought Paul along to play drums for the group for a few years.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, as usual with the singles from the era appended. This time, the two singles are primo Fall and deservedly charted high on the UK Indie charts.

GRADE: A-: There’s one basically musique concrete bunch of noise but the other nine cuts are pretty darn good.

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