The Fall

Live at Acklam Hall, London 1980

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Originally surfacing as a cassette on the Chaos label -- thus its title for the CD rerelease in 1995, The Legendary Chaos Tape -- London 1980 captures more of the anti-smooth genius that was and is the Fall. Featuring Paul Hanley in place of Leigh on drums a couple of months after replacing him, London 1980 makes for a perfect adjunct on the live front to Totale's Turns. Only two tracks repeated between the two (including a great take on "Spectre Vs. Rector") and some of the Fall's all-time best appearing here. Grotesque (After the Gramme) had emerged around that time, so the track listing to an extent favors it, along with some then recent singles. Among the all-time greats are an edgy "An Older Lover," "Male Slags" (aka "Slates, Slags, etc."), and, appropriately given the location of the show, a more than entertaining chug through "Leave the Capital." Smith spits out the chorus with all the appropriate acid while sounding downright touching (or at least empathetic) during the verses. Smith sounds a little goofy (and very self-aware of it) at points -- witness his occasional stumble and chuckle in the opening "Middle Mass/Crap Rap," as well as the chicken-like sounds on a great romp through "New Face in Hell" (not to mention kazoo, just like on Grotesque). The band as a whole puts on another fine show, though sometimes it's hard to tell whether it's recording quality or the actual performance sometimes letting down the side ("Prole Art Threat" isn't quite as commanding as it could be, though Smith is audible enough). Hearing "Jawbone and the Air Rifle" is a definite treat in comparison to the more than slightly muddy live take on Hip Priests and Kamerads -- not that the one here is perfectly clean, but somehow the groan-along chorus just sounds more fun.