March 13, 1999
The Marshall Suite
What kind of masochistic idiot would join [B]The Fall[/B] in '99?...
7 / 10
What kind of masochistic idiot would join The Fall in '99? Failed kamikaze pilots seeking a more noble death? Evander Hollyfield, for training purposes? The blokes who failed the audition for the Happy Mondays? Where was the news footage of Mark E Smith at the Kosovo border, offering quickie visas to any refugees willing to put up with his own inter-band atrocities?
Information is scant on exactly where Mark unearthed Neville Wilding (guitars and cowering), Adam Halal (bass and begging for mercy) and Tom Head (drums) to form this, the 576th line-up of The Fall. But from the sound of the first third of 'The Marshall Suite' they used to be the house rockabilly band from EXIT. Initially, then, it's business as unusual. Mark shouts in indecipherable Pissedmanctrampese, the band play whatever the bugger they like and a good third of 'The Marshall Suite' is rambling,'experimental' shite. Obscurity, via the Festive 50? You know the way, sirs.
But, for possibly the first time in history, a Fall album develops. Split into three 'movements', 'Marshall...' is a concept album of sorts: a musical autobiography from the brilliant Krautrock-flecked yobabilly of 'Touch Sensitive' and 'F-Oldin' Money' (Mark is skint to the tune of 'Summertime Blues'), through the mid-period meta-blues of '(Jung Nev's) Antidotes' (Mark, struck down by a terminal Anti-Spelling bug, turns goth), to the final techno noir of 'On My Own' (Mark, in maudlin mood, attempts to sack Ibiza for looking at him funny). As befits the classical conceit, Mark even beats up the entire Birmingham Symphonic over the big beat chunder of 'The Crying Marshal'. Shoop-herb...
'The Marshall Suite' is a Story So Far to the most demented soap opera in rock: the highs and the lows, the lusts and the dribbles, the farting about with crap synthesisers and the chunks of unadulterated genius. Catch up, kids, before the bloodbath finale.
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