The Fall – Sub-Lingual Tablet
These are relatively stable times for The Fall, with guitarist Pete Greenway and bassist Dave Spurr having clocked up an impressive nine years' service in a group where some have lasted only one gig. But Prestwich's most curmudgeonly band leader still doesn't sound happy. "How bad are English musicians?" Mark E Smith asks, more than once, on Auto Chip 14-15. This could be just another example of MES provocation, but he then makes a disdainful remark about royalty payments on Fibre Book Troll – a title inspired by a well-known social media website.
Fall fans groan whenever a new LP is hailed as a 'return to form', but this – their 31st – is easily the best since 2007's Reformation Post TLC. The group have written the sort of sharp garage rock nuggets that Smith is now best suited to, and he responds in kind – delivering clear vocals (by his standards) and plenty of the characteristic snarling that keeps us coming back. [Chris McCall]