Returning to the indie label world with a bang, the Fall unleashed a winner and a half with Infotainment Scan, one of the band's most playful yet sharp-edged releases. The choice of covers alone gives a sense of where Smith's head was at -- tackling Lee Perry's "Why Are People Grudgeful?" is one tall order to start with, while a cover of the novelty tripe "I'm Going to Spain" is just silly fun (even if the guitar does sound like early Cure!). Even more astounding, though, is what the band does to the Sister Sledge disco classic "Lost in Music" -- nobody will ever mistake Smith's singing for that of the threesome, but the band's overall performance is an honest-to-god tribute to the tight but full Chic Organization sound. Craig Scanlon throws in some scratchy work around the edges, but otherwise the group takes it as it is and does a great job. As for the originals, Smith and crew are in fine form once again, Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Dave Bush, and Simon Wolstencroft once again a dynamic, inventive unit. After the explicitly techno nods of the recent past, Infotainment balances that off with more straight-ahead rock, though with Wolstencroft's strong, sharp drumming still setting a brisk, danceable pace while Scanlon whips up his usual brand of tight, memorable riffing and Bush adds subtle textures and catchy melodies. One of the best numbers is the explicitly Gary Glitter-styled romp "Glam-Racket," a great shout-along, while the beat-crazy "A Past Gone Mad" wins for this line alone: "And if I ever end up like U2/slit my throat with a garden vegetable." "The League of Bald Headed Men" also deserves note, as does another strong motorik-inspired number, "It's a Curse." Best song title of the bunch? "Paranoia Man in Cheap Shit Room," with a high-strung and aggressive arrangement to boot.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett