The Fall, Dragnet

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 07.11.12 in Reviews

Having weighed “punk” in the balance and found it nowhere near messy and nasty enough, the Fall made a second album that shoved conventional ideas of fidelity into the dustbin of history. Mark E. Smith shrieks, gnashes and squeals, the band’s way out of tune, the mix is trebly sludge, and it sounds fantastic. Contempt for pop normalcy is one of Smith’s big lyrical themes here (although the band does work up a raging approximation of rockabilly on “Dice Man”); the other one is his fascination with H.P. Lovecraft’s evocations of unimaginable horror, especially on “Spectre Vs. Rector,” which seems to be about a disastrously failed exorcism. Dragnet also introduced the team of guitarist Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley, who’d be the instrumental core of the Fall for the next 15 years.