Sound — 9
Those of you who have reached the ripe old age of 15 are bound to have children. If you don't, you're retarded. That or impotent, and you should go get yourself checked out. Your kids are probably getting to that dreadful "inquisitive" stage of life. You know what I'm talking about - all those curly questions about pee-pees, asparaguses, and that fateful question asked by every child: "Daddy, what is post-punk?" It is at this crucial point that most people mutter, "Doesn't that have to do with Franz Ferdinand," in what can only be described as an egregious display of parenting and possibly the sole reason for the degradation of modern youth. Other parents, usually those familiar with Dr. Phil, briefly mention Joy Division, Gang Of Four, or even Wire; however, these children are given nothing more. I'm here to give the honest truth: if you neglect to inform you're child of The Fall, they're gonna turn out to be a pussy. Seriously. So you don't run the risk of seriously affecting your child's life in the most negative way, I'm going to give you the courtesy of reviewing their Slates album. The Fall is the creation of frontman, lyricist, and professional-interview-drunk (I'm assuming he's a professional, as he always looks drunk in interviews and is usually rather inconspicuously drinking a beer) Mark E. Smith. Over their 30-odd years of existence, Smith has been the only consistent member, kicking out members to keep things fresh and street. Consequently, crappy fall albums are pretty rare a feat more amazing seeing as there have around 26 of them. Their formula is simple: play a riff, repeat it (a lot), and have Marky S spew cynical, tone-deaf rants over the tops. Their basslines are also great! Slates captures the Fall at an unusual period. Also Slates is somewhat of an unorthodox release physically: it is too long to be an EP and too short to be an LP. Smith claimed this was intended, as the group was trying to escape any constraints of the traditional release format. The album gets off to a great start with Middle Mass and An Older Lover Etc. Middle Mass has a cool punky ascending bassline, which builds up into this funny little poppy bit at the end, while An Older Lover Etc jumps along with a fantastic awkward rhythm. Slates, Slags, Etc is a Fall classic and Leave The Capitol is fantastic and almost poppy, like those modern indie guitar bands, except this angry drunk guy is singing over top. Apparently they also had two drummers during this period.
Lyrics — 8
Smith also apparently spend a lot of Slates paying out on the independent scene, which he felt was bloated, self-important and out of touch which they vehemently denied. To me, though, it just sounds like good old Mark doing his thing: ranting out-of-tune about football, the working classes and people he hates (most people seem to fit into this category). Ranting is probably a good word for what his delivery, come to think of it. Think John Lydon in Public Image Ltd, but Manchurian and drunk. This is to say, they sound nothing alike, but they have a similar delivery.
Overall Impression — 9
So if you want the best for your child, introduce them to the Fall when they ask that fateful question. Dr Phil could give you no better advice. Mark E. Smith? he'd ask in that Southern drawl: I wrote about him in my new book! A good starting place for the Fall. And Slates, Slags, Etc is great!