Are You Are Missing Winner

The Fall

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Are You Are Missing Winner Review

by John Bush

After a winning streak that stretched clear through the last half of the '90s, Are You Are Missing Winner represents a rare misstep for the mighty Fall. Mark E. Smith sounds curiously lackluster on this ten-track set; the accompaniment, usually unhinged, is much more pedestrian than on late masterpieces like The Marshall Suite and The Unutterable. The real problem, however, is the production and engineering; with a few shining exceptions, the sound is soft and muddy, whereas a great Fall LP continually pushes the red line. One of the bare few highlights is "My Ex-Classmates' Kids," with Smith summoning some much-needed venom and the band sounding a bit more inspired. (It comes complete with a hilarious aside from Smith at the end: "Up your nose! Aftershave! Like little twigs! Twigs.") A promising cover of the obscure Motown nugget "Gotta See Jane" (originally by R. Dean Taylor) turns out to be a back-and-forth rockabilly snorefest, and the "avant" (or just difficult) piece "Ibis-Afro Man" (Iggy Pop's "African Man") is pretty difficult to take as well -- it all breaks down when Smith begins dueting with what sounds like an enraged monkey, then starts back up again with five minutes of live recording of the same song which is radically different enough to register as a separate composition. Frustrating, bizarre, confusing (in a bad way), and pasted together with the same haphazardness of the innumerable cut-rate albums that constantly aggravate Fall collectors and fans.

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