The Fall released a new record in July 2017. It was their 32nd studio album – New Facts Emerge – nobody had any idea it would be their last.
MES gave UNCUT magazine a lengthy and decent interview for a lengthy feature. The opening paragraph comments are priceless:-
“There are some fucking weird people around, aren’t there?” says Mark E Smith, taking a sip of Jameson’s in Manchester’s Crown & Kettle public house. He’s talking about musicians, a group of people he famously detests. “I suppose you meet a lot of ’em. I’m not one to talk, but a lot of them can’t give it up, can they?”
The interview also acknowledged that the band had been reduced to a four-piece, with Elena Poulou having taken her leave the previous year when she and MES separated and then divorced. New Facts Emerge proved to be a disappointing effort, with Elena’s keyboards replaced only by more guitars, bass and drums, leading to an even heavier and more pounding sound, which is no surprise given the way the current and now-long standing musicians had been performing on the most recent releases.
No singles were lifted from the album, which would indicate Cherry Red Records were perhaps thinking the band was treading water and that the next set of songs, maybe with someone new brought into as Elena’s replacement, would be slightly more commercially-orientated. Sadly, with MES passing away a few months later in January 2018, (with a gig in Glasgow proving to be his last ever), the theory was never put to the test.
The label had previously issued a 7″ single for Record Store Day on 22 April 2017. It was done, seemingly, without MES’s knowledge far less blessing, which left him a bit pissed off to say the least. In the olden days, this would have led to him ripping up the contract and seeking a new home, but seemingly tired of battling with record company bosses, he told Uncut that “Cherry Red are all right (to work with)”.
It wasn’t even as if a really old track had been resurrected. Masquerade had been released in February 1998, on 10″ vinyl and 2 x CD singles, on Artful Records, selling enough copies to reach #69 in the singles chart. The RSD effort didn’t even offer up any new version, with the b-side being a remix that had been included on the original 10″ release:-
All in all, a rather limp ending to the singles/EP career of The Fall, but it certainly wasn’t planned that way…MES’s body finally gave up on him before any new music could be written, recorded and released.
I’d like to thank everyone who has stuck with this series, and I’ll apologise to those of you who aren’t fans who probably feel it has long overstayed its welcome. The first part was actually just over a year ago, on 13 June 2021, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing the research involved for each release. I haven’t always enjoyed the music, but it’s fair to say there have been way more hits than misses.
One thing I will add is that if a fairly recent book on The Fall had been in print when I began this series, then my life would have been a lot easier.
You Must Get Them All : The Fall On Record is a 656-page hardback epic written by Steve Pringle, issued by Route Publishing. I don’t think at this stage you can get it anywhere other than via the publishers, and while as yet I’m only just over halfway through its contents, it does feel as if it’s the first book to tell the full chronological story by concentrating on every release, weaving in the various line-up changes and the live and often punishing touring schedules. Click here for more details.
Tune in next week for the start of a new(ish) Sunday series…..its success or otherwise will rely heavily on audience participation/involvement.