For anyone unknowing who wishes to familiarise themselves with The Fall’s ‘second phase’, The Wonderful and Frightening World of… is a good place to start. If you decide to follow this line of enquiry then I advise you pick up the version I did in 1994, entitled Escape Route from the Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall, which includes the tunes found on the Call for Escape Route EP and the singles C.R.E.E.P. and Oh! Brother. This will be the edition you will most likely encounter anyhow: on Spotify, on CD or on the repackaged double LP that came out in 2015. Having said all that, I have included just one track on this compilation that wasn’t featured on the original – C.R.E.E.P.
The Fall’s tenth
studio album, The Frenz Experiment, in some ways feels like a step backwards. It starts
promisingly enough with the solemn Frenz, wherein Smith claims to have
no more than five friends. Thereafter, Carry Bag Man and Get a Hotel
are Fall-by-numbers. The cover of Victoria by the Kinks is pretty good,
and then Athlete Cured, which borrows, quite blatantly, from Tonight
I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight by Spinal Tap (much to Simon Rogers' horror). Athlete
Cured tells of a German athletic star who was continually ill. Turns out his
brother, Gert, is responsible: he’s been parking his Volkswagen, at the end of
the day, willy-nilly in the driveway, usually the wrong way round, so that the
exhaust fumes would flow upwards right through the open windows of the athletic
star's upstairs bedroom. Problem solved, Gert patriotically volunteers to be
sent on a labour beautification course of the countryside north-west of
Dresden. And never seen again.