Happy birthday to another craggy-faced genius, The Fall’s frontman and only constant, Mark E Smith. The Fall’s discography is as dense, deep, and twisted as a thousand-year oak, but the riches contained within are unparalleled and inimitable. For the uninitiated, there are many worthwhile entry points; the almighty Hex Enduction Hour, the shiny and comprehensible A-Sides/B-Sides collections, the brief but flawless Slates, the pulse-quickening The Real New Fall LP, or the snarling The Unutterable…50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong was my introduction to the band, nearly ten years ago, and it provides a reasonably tight overview. However, the real power of The Fall is a cumulative one; Mark E Smith’s secret code begins to unravel with multiple listens, the constant repetition in the music (they’re never gonna lose it-uh) starts to feel liberating when it initially seems claustrophobic. They appear to be in a bit of a quiet period, as the most recent record or two have felt like Mark and his current line-up were biding their time until their next Eureeka moment; have no doubt, though, that Mark E Smith will rise again (like The North).
Happy birthday, MES.