The Fall “Wise Ol’ Man EP” (Cherry Red)
Being a combination of new, old, rehashed and live material, this EP is neither fish nor fowl, but us being vegetarians that may be just as well.
The lead tune is actually great (do persevere, because it’s a grower), a guitar stomp in classic-ish Fall style punctuated by Elena's backing shouts and - more bizarrely - that noise that doors in newsagents make when a new customer comes in, but for us the chief attraction of this release is the rumbling, unattributed remix of the last LP’s “Dedication Not Medication”, which lumbers into view with a cavalcade of live and electric drums (almost as heavy as that final Scorn EP) before Smith bellows“I’M BACK! I’M BACK!” and the track, already an improvement on the original, settles into Fall-when-the-electronics-were-to-the-fore mode, as if it were 1991 all over again and Smith was still an Edinburgh Man.
We’re less sure about the rest of the 12” (nobody on the globe can really have a need either for an instrumental of the title track or a less-fi version of the excellent last LP-opener "Venice With The Girls", while the chaotic medley of “Facebook Troll” and “No Xmas For John Quays” does less than justice to the brilliance of the two, 37-year apart originals), but then we suppose the Fall wouldn’t be the Fall if they didn’t delight and disappoint in roughly equal measure. We'll see you soon at their forthcoming Highbury Garage residency, no doubt.