James Fleming on The Fall’s new album. Read on believers…

“…There are people who don’t like The Fall – they must be half-dead with beastliness. I spurn them with my toe.” -John Peel

New Facts Emerge does not present any new facts. It does not provide any fresh insight into the inner workings of Mark E. Smith and The Fall. Rather, it serves to emphasise one decades-old fact: that The Fall are a totally unique proposition.

‘That you alone are you,’ as Shakespeare so eloquently put it. The Fall have merged such pop-culturally ostracised elements such as garage rock, science fiction, horror, comedy and the avant-garde into a thrilling whole. Much like Frank Zappa, their catalogue is immense. And like Zappa, every second of it is worthwhile.

That’s only when it’s at its worst. When The Fall are on form there’s no touching them. And when they’re not, they are still worth it.

New Facts Emerge, the 32nd album in The Fall’s ever-expanding discography, contains all of those elements. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll tear your hair out in confusion and you’ll jump out of your skin in fright at Smith’s venomous spitting. If one band can say they inspired even one of those reactions over the course of a career, they’d consider it a success. The Fall can do it in an album.

The music on New Facts Emerge veers wildly from snarling, barbed-wire garage rock to murky atmospherics and back again. In the case of Couples Vs Jobless Mid 30’s, all in the space of eight and a half minutes.

Smith rants gloriously throughout like a man a third his age. Fol De Rol, Brillo De Facto and the title track in particular are masterclasses in sneering brilliance. This lineup of The Fall has been uncharacteristically together for eleven years and New Facts Emerge is all the better for it.

This is a shit-hot band. Well capable of laying down a solid foundation for the attitude that lies smouldering beneath all of The Fall’s music. More than anything else, it’s that attitude that led John Peel to infamously claim that The Fall are ‘always different, always the same.’ The music has undergone changes. But that attitude remains.

The backing vocals on the aforementioned Couples Vs Jobless Mid 30’s are a shining example of audio hilarity, in stark contrast with the dark Birthday Party-esque groove of the song’s intro/recurring motif. A tom-tom groove kicks in at the 6:30 minute mark and even if you found the first three quarters unlistenable, it was undoubtedly well worth it just to hear a beat that lets you know shit’s about to go down.

New Facts Emerge could very well function as a ‘greatest hits’ of The Fall. Not because every track is on par with the dizzying heights of past glories, but because over the course of its running time it encapsulates every aspect of their sound.

From Perverted By Language’s menacing grooves to the concise, punchy riffs of This Nation’s Saving Grace. There are no more expectations with The Fall anymore. Curveballs are the aim of their game. But there’s always the hope that their new record will jump the bar set by the highlights of their past. New Facts Emerge jumps that bar.

There will always be Fall doubters. There will always be that nagging suspicion that at this stage, Mark E. Smith is just taking the piss. And there will always be those who claim The Fall’s best is well behind them. New Facts Emerge spurns these people. Spurns them with its toe.

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