These are difficult times for a man like Mark E Smith - finding himself without a band, without a record label and without a great deal of fans left apart from John Peel ...

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The Three Pyramids Club

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The Three Pyramids Club

THESE ARE DIFFICULT TIMES FOR A MAN LIKE Mark E Smith – finding himself without a band, without a record label and without a great deal of fans left apart from John Peel.

So what can you do? You’ve got to ‘produce’, as he always says. Throw yourself into work, as ever. Sort yerself out, pal. Don’t need a fuckin’ band – you can do it yourself.

And so it came to pass that our hero saw fit to release this spoken-word LP, and perhaps not accidentally, it sounds like it’s been recorded in a variety of venues, such as a washing machine, an airport runway, my mam’s kitchen, and under the bed while hiding from the cupboard monster.

There’s evidently an ambient influence to Smith’s spoken word, manifested in a variety of random bleeps in the background, plus sundry helicopters flying, doors slamming, bells chiming, wind blowing, paint drying and the like.

Three tracks in, we at least find something vaguely coherent. ‘The Caterer’, featuring the Fall trio of Smith, Julia Nagle and Simon Wolstencroft, has a minimalist charm, a top grunty keyboard rhythm and a loose-tongued groove to Smith’s delivery. But [I]”chicken and chips off the bone”[/I] is about the nearest we get to lyrical wisdom.

The usual screwing with words could potentially make sense, but detached from the customary rattling Fall racket it doesn’t really engage on any level. Consider, [I]”Colon gets on Dick and Judy your opinion on Lennon and McCartney/Get on same prog central sat next to Fred West’s sweaty family”[/I], or [I]”Soccer terracing seem to symbolise a new clean-shaven but chip-greasy new decadence”[/I].

You can count the substantial ideas here on the fingers of a Kit-Kat. And while Fall completists might appreciate even that, it’s disturbingly reminiscent of one of those loonies that send tapes of themselves reading poetry and singing Shakin’ Stevens songs to major record labels. So there we have it then. Mark E Smith – will work for food.