The Fall


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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries

Like the discographies of Lee "Scratch" Perry, Bob Marley, or Jimi Hendrix, the Fall's catalog is polluted with substandard live and studio outtake compilations released by labels that show little interest in quality control. But 2G+2 is authorized as an official Fall album by leader Mark E. Smith and is one of the first in quite awhile to get wide American distribution, although, typical of the Fall, it's not the best time for masses of non-believers to be checking in. 2G+2 is a good representation of the lack of direction for the band, now spinning its wheels as it awaits the next great foil for Smith in the tradition of Brix Smith, Marc Riley, or the recently departed Julia Nagle. The nine live tracks from a short U.S. tour -- pulled mostly from Smith's least interesting album in years, Are You Are Missing Winner -- suffers from poor recording and bad edits. Smith sounds more workmanlike than ever, jet-lagged rather than drunk, and his current three-piece backing unit adds little. Only the oldies "I Am Damo Suzuki" and "Pharmacist" get decent workouts; elsewhere, lyrics are forgotten and guitar solos are flubbed. "I Wake up in the City" is one of three new studio tracks and finally heats up the band's current garage rock sound to near Stooges level. Smith snarls and coughs over a killer riff, which appeared two songs earlier in the live "My Ex Classmate's Kids" to lesser effect. Better care has been taken by other compilers with some decent Fall collections. However, with the exception of the great "City," 2G+2 takes the group in a totally new direction: dull.

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