The Fall succeeds in a reformation on almost every single new album. Besides Mark E. Smith, the only constant aspect of the group is change. The band members change. Their sound changes. Their record labels change. Their musical styles always change. Recently deceased legendary UK DJ, John Peel (R.I.P.) loved The Fall. Peel triumphantly declared, "They are always different, they are always the same." Hailing from Manchester, The Fall has been going strong long before the insanity of The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and New Order. Mark E. Smith created The Fall with the philosophy of the three R's (repetition - repetition - repetition). Named after a novel by Albert Camus, The Fall has been enduring for more than 25 years. They continue to earn more fans with every new generation. One of the most unlikely lead singers to grace a stage, Mark E. Smith is The Fall. The other band members basically do what Smith says. The line-up practically changes with almost every album. The countless band members basically come and go like Smith's moods. The musicians either get fired, assaulted, or escape. A few actually return, but then leave once again. Band members do not join The Fall, Mark E. Smith knights them. Although some members share song-writing credits, Mark E. Smith is in complete control of the band. A few of the classic Fall albums include "Extricate", "The Infotainment Scan", "The Frenz Experiment", and "The Marshall Suite". In 2007, The Fall released their 26th studio album titled "Reformation Post TLC". Released on Narnack Records, "Reformation Post TLC" is a typical Fall album since it is different, yet still the same. Compared to their previous LP ("Fall Heads Roll"), "Reformation Post TLC" leaves a stronger impression due to the sonic variety. The "TLC" allegedly stands for "Treacherous Lying Cunts", which is in reference to past band members Ben Pritchard, Steve Trafford, and Spencer Birtwistle. As soon as Smith found new band members (again), The Fall went directly into the studio during their 2006 North American Tour. The music on this new LP captures the fresh moments of a band whose members have just met. This raw energy is a double edge sword. Even though some of the music is sloppy, the energy is wonderfully refreshing. "Reformation Post TLC" has the lo-fi production style of "Are You Are Missing Winner". Just like "Are You Are Missing Winner", listeners are experiencing a brand new version of the group. The "Reformation Post TLC" LP does possess the experimentation of "The Unutterable". Every Fall album is different, yet the same. "Reformation Post TLC" displays how once again, Mark E. Smith reformed The Fall in a myriad of ways. The beautiful constant of The Fall is how Mark E. Smith will always make his band change.
"Reformation Post TLC" has a plethora of shining moments that can be added to the ever growing collection of classic Fall tracks. The opening track, "Over! Over!" features the usual repetitious rant by Smith, "…I think it's over now. I think it's ending…". Another solid track, "Fall Sound" is an anthem with an upbeat tempo where Smith takes pride in the sound he has created. The obligatory cover song for the new LP is the fabulous "White Line Fever". Joyously melodic and cleverly fun, "White Line Fever" proves again that Mark E. Smith can make someone else's song his own. "My Door Is Never" is a bouncy track where Smith sings in a falsetto style at the end of his repeated lines. "My door is never open for you." Smith's 3rd wife, Eleni Poulou plays keyboards and sings too. Unfortunately, she is only credited with writing one track. "The Wright Stuff" has a hypnotically hip keyboard melody and background rhythm vocals. ("Do do-do-do, Do do-do-do"). During the verses, Poulou talks her lyrics like a spoken-word poet as she tells a story. Her sexy voice adds a revitalizing dimension to the album. For the chorus, she states the song's title. "Coach And Horses" is a brilliantly melodic track with a mellow groove. Smith's vocals are also strangely tuneful. In contrast, "Systematic Abuse" closes the album with a hard-hitting driving rhythm and guitar-driving melody. Smith repeats, "…Systematic abuse / It is the whole truth…" Extremely lengthy and epically repetitious, "Systematic Abuse" will haunt listeners for years.
Only a handful of songs can be classified as difficult listening. Although Smith prides himself on creating music that is difficult to listen to, these unfortunate tracks add splinters into the LP. "Das Boot" is a ridiculous cacophony of guitar sounds and keyboard noises. "The Bad Stuff" is a collection of instrumental outtakes glued together. In the middle of the track, a different song takes over. "Reformation" is an particularly elongated track filled with loose rants. Smith even mentions the (past Fall member) Spencer Birtwistle's band, Blimp. While "Reformation" is enjoyable because of the music and Smith's musings, the prolonged version of "Insult Song" is a tragic improvisation where Smith rambles on about Jehovah witnesses and various other odd references. Smith attempts to continue some of the lyrics of "White Line Fever" while adding his off-key vocal styles. "Scenario" is a peculiar, quirky track where Smith sounds like he is singing to different music, "It doesn't get me high / It only makes me cry" Some of the lyrics were borrowed or inspired from the poem, "Pal Of My Cradle Days" by poet Anne Breen.
A surprising element of "Reformation Post TLC" is the enhanced portion of the CD, which includes 4 live videos from their 2006 North American tour. The live videos include "Sparta F.C.", "My Door", "Scenario", and "Hungry Freaks Daddy". Fans can see how the new band performs live. The live version of "Sparta F.C." is a magnificent reminder of the song's strength.
"Reformation Post TLC" by The Fall accomplishes the goal of every Fall album. The music is interesting and exciting enough while maintaining The Fall energy. Their next album will probably have different members. People either understand The Fall or they do not. They either like them or hate them. You will either be annoyed by their music or you will enjoy their music. After multiple wives, a myriad of labels, countless band members, and 26 albums, Mark E. Smith is still ranting. It doesn't get more punk rock than The Fall. Once again, The Fall has reformed music.