The Fall

Touch Sensitive...Bootleg Box Set

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It goes without saying that a five-CD box set of the Fall live in one of their tumultuous eras is for the hardcore only. The set contains three shows from April 2001 and two from November 2001. The sound quality goes from flat soundboard recordings to a handheld somewhere in the rowdier part of some acoustically poor venue. A good portion of the songs appear once on each CD, some of the versions are downright sloppy, and the Fall would become consistently brilliant again a year later. In other words, if you only own 20 Fall CDs, make sure this isn't one of them. That said, it does give the legion of Fall fans a good view of how the band handled the transition from the triumphant The Unutterable to the less than satisfactory Are You Are Missing Winner and back to the energetic 2003 world tour. Mark E. Smith has done this before, flooding the market with enough of the bad Fall so the old band's essence is wiped away and the new one can rise like the phoenix reborn. You can argue till the end of time what's more worthy than what, and fans who have shelled out hard-earned cash for the band's huge discography have a pretty good guess what it sounds like (and they already have 2G+2, a single live disc from the exact same time period). Touch Sensitive is better packaged than normal and about half of the performances are the band at full speed, usually dependant on whether or not keyboardist and voice of reason Julia Nagle is in the mix. Sometimes she's on-stage but Mark E. Smith sees fit to turn her keyboards down to inaudible levels (Smith's way of showing you the door). A Nagle-less and ramshackle four-piece Fall is over-represented, but it's good study material for the nerds. With good liner notes and cheeky packaging that mocks the old TARKL bootleg label, it's easy for the Fall hardcore to remember they've been ripped off much worse before.

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