2003.  The Fall are still on Action Records on which an EP is released in December of that year.  It’s been another crazy year, as exemplified by the story around the release of an album in October 2003.

The same line-up as had been together for Susan vs. Nightclub – MES, Ben Pritchard, Jim Watts, Dave Milner and Elena Poulou had been hard at work in Rochdale, Lancashire – at a studio built and owned by local lass and mega pop-star, Lisa Stansfield, on what was provisionally entitled Country On The Click. It had been due for release in April 2003, but MES decided he was unhappy with the final mix and pulled the plug.  He would later say:-

“I thought this LP was perfect round about March. But then you trust people to go away and mix it, and it comes back sounding like Dr. Who meets Posh Spice. You have to go back in and strip it down to what it basically was.”

To further annoy him, the early mix was leaked onto the internet seemingly by Jim Watts, who was, by the end of the year, no longer in the band. The new mix was, as indicated above, made available in the shops under the title of The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click). It was the band’s 23rd studio album.

Reviews were almost universally positive:-

“as valuable an album as anything The Fall ever released in the 1990s”
“Smith’s lyrics are at a near career-best of insolence and nonsense
“Smith is on magnificently mad form”.
“Smith grinds and spits on everything that moves. Sometimes it’s completely incomprehensible, sometimes insanely entertaining.
“Great by Smith’s standards. Practically genius by everybody else’s.”
“as good as anything in this group’s monstrous catalogue”
“their best record in a decade”.

And yet, no single was lifted from it to assist with its promotion….well, not initially, and even then there’s a story to be told.

Proteinprotection was a track on the album, but rather than release it as a 45, the decision was taken to head back into the studio, with Simon Archer brought in on bass as Watt’s replacement, and rework it entirely as a Festive number.

mp3: The Fall – (We Wish You) A Protein Christmas

It was released as a 2×7″ single in a limited pressing of 1,000 copies as well as a more widely available CD.  Here’s the b-sides:-

mp3: The Fall – (We Are) Mod Mock Goth
mp3: The Fall – (Birtwistle’s) Girl In Shop
mp3: The Fall – Recovery Kit 2#

I’ll just mention in passing that (Birtwistle’s) Girl In Shop seems to have been played entirely by former drummer Spencer Birtwhistle, while Recover Kit 2# is a remix of a track originally found on the most recent LP.  (We Are) Mod Mock Goth is a new song altogether, co-composed by MES and Elena Poulou.

Hang on a moment though…..this might all appear a bit gibberish to readers from North America.  And that’s down to the fact that The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country On The Click) wasn’t released over there until June 2004 but the version was different from that previously available in the UK. It had a different sleeve, some song titles were abbreviated and most confusingly of all, alternate versions of the songs, including Recovery Kit were substituted, while a couple of b-sides, including Mod Mock Goth, were added to the CD.

I hope you’re managing to follow all this, as it’s relevant to the next part in this singles’ series.



  1. Oh, we North Americans communicate in gibberish these days, my dude.

    When I listen to these new (to me) Fall tunes I wonder whether, if I had no history with the band and had never heard them before, I’d be impressed. This time out I really like the songs. Distinctive and well-produced despite MES’s complaints, and lyrically interesting. Maybe a little lacking in sloppy energy that was so endearing originally. But, still worthwhile after so long on the job.

  2. Protein Protection is a stand out 21st Century MES/Fall track. Maybe no new territory explored, but this version of the band played with a confidence that had been missing for a while.
    We Wish You A Protein Christmas is really dense and multidimensional.
    (We Are) Mod Mock Goth really captures that Lancashire/West Yorkshire Goth sound of the Middle 80s and slobbers all over it in a very Fall kinda way

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