The Fall

Levitate

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Mark E. Smith was always in step with progressing musical styles, even if his vocal delivery and abstract material placed him square against the mainstream, so it's not a huge surprise to find breakbeat jungle on Levitate's first track, "Ten Houses of Eve." And the Fall frontman doesn't just add moderate elements of drum'n'bass, he bends electronics to his own will; the synth lines on "Masquerade" and "Jungle Rock" function in the same fashion as ragged guitar lines did on previous albums -- repetitive music for Smith to vamp over, which places him right in the center of the mix. Most of the rest of the album is signature Fall, with raunchy garage rock covers (the completely obscure "I'm a Mummy") and noisy percussive post-punk ("4 1/2 Inch," "Spencer Must Die") alternating with abstract pieces, instrumental or otherwise. Longtime guitarist Craig Scanlon is missing (and definitely missed), but songwriter/programmer/keyboard player Julia Nagle helps contribute to Mark E. Smith's twisted vision. (A special two-disc issue adds five extra tracks.)

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