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Boomkat Product Review:
Making their Domino debut, The Fall return with a 28th long-player, featuring the same band line-up that featured on 2008's Imperial Wax Solvent. Having hit upon a strong run of form in recent years, these post-punk survivors show no signs of fatigue, and Mark E. Smith is at his snarling best again on the likes of 'Bury Pts. 1 + 3', which features an innocuous but potentially RSPCA-baiting reference to squirrels (following up on his comments of a couple of years back about killing red squirrels in his garden), the swaggering 'Mexico Wax Solvent' and the rampant, high energy racket of 'Y.F.O.C. / Slippy Floor (Medley)'. Despite being well into his fifties, Smith is always leading the frontline of his comparatively youthful band's wild and jagged thrash, whether he's slipping into rockabilly mode on the raucous 'Hot Cake' or over-articulating his way through the killer riff-mongerging on 'Funnel Of Love'. Unthinkably, 'Chino' seems to find the veteran frontman ruminating on the notion of retirement (asking "When do I quit?") whilst backed by buzzing analogue synth and lead guitars that sound vaguely like a spaghetti western take on the verse parts to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. Consolidating this slightly melancholy, reflective tone is 'Weather Report 2': musically, the song moves from slowed-down new-wave classicism into almost Pan Sonic like analogue hum-sculpting, while Smith sings such lines as "You gave me the best years of my life" with rare wistfulness. The album closes with what might tentatively be thought of as a poignant tone, and quite powerfully, the last thing you hear on the album is Smith whispering "You don't deserve rock & roll". Another great entry into this band's prodigious catalogue.