The Fall, Slates

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 07.11.12 in Reviews


The Fall

The 1981 EP Slates is the crown jewel of the Fall’s catalogue, and as much of a magnificent misfit there as the Fall was among its post-punk peers. Its arrangements and production are much tighter than anything they’d tried before: “Don’t start improvising, for God’s sake!” snaps Mark E. Smith, as someone in the band starts taking liberties with the title track’s two-chord barrage. But very few songs are both as bizarre and as catchy as the paranoid, fragmentary spy-movie rant “Prole Art Threat,” which always sounds like it’s about to collapse and never does, or “Leave the Capitol,” which keeps diving into and resurfacing from its mammoth chorus riff. The original six-song EP is expanded to album length here with that year’s marvelous single “Lie Dream of a Casino Soul” — a loving, biting burlesque of the Northern soul scene — and some radio oddities, including “C ‘n’ C Hassle Schmuk,” a version of their live standard “Cash ‘n’ Carry” that mutates into a berserk parody of “Do the Hucklebuck.”