Things have been working well for several albums with the rhythm section of Hanley and Wolstencroft so let’s cause friction as they bring back Karl Burns for the third time. Seemingly just on percussion at the time but he works his way back in. Obviously, Smith’s decision because he can, and he likes conflict.
15 Ways opens and we have a bit of electronics, but this fades out after thirty seconds where a standard Fall song appears its nothing good or bad, Dave Bush tries to do something interesting in the background but not the best of starts.
The Reckoning is much more promising, a great guitar from Craig Scanlon and Smith can be understood with a laid back slightly slurred vocal, perfectly pleasant from The Fall.
The single Behind the Counter is immediate and hard hitting with whistles and techno and the band storming away in the background, magical. M5#1 and the band swirls around Smith, he is back on form now.
The title track is all shuffling beats a lovely bass and a nice guitar line with some excellent keyboards, but we again have a disengaged Mark E Smith, it works, just. The cover of War has chanting a guitar that reminds me of Rock Lobster, its manic and industrial.
Symbol of Mordgan The Fall’s biggest fan John Peel makes an appearance talking to Craig Scanlon about Man City and could they be relegated, how times have changed, not a lot of merit in it.
Hey Student, is an enjoyable romp along although is a reworking of Hey Fascist from back in 1977, although truth be told it could still have come from 1977 and Junk Man, another cover, is plain annoying, take the bloody kazoo off whoever is playing it.
The $500 Dollar Bottle of Wine has a groove I like but seems a bit haphazard in places but still worth the admission fee. Shut Up, another cover, takes us out and is weird and fun.
When this is good it’s exceptionally good but there is a fair amount of filler, and we are about to enter challenging times for Mr Smith. This may well have been the start of his troubles.
GIVE IT A STREAM: Behind The Counter