Album: The Fall, Ersatz GB (Cherry Red)

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The Independent Culture

Never changing but never dated.

Never alarming but never stale. It's a hell of a trick, but one which The Fall have pulled off for over three decades. Their 29th album arrives at an unusual time, in that they have a relatively stable line-up. Always prolific, they are now in a period of consistency unparalleled since the mid-1980s, and Ersatz GB is a fine addition to an excellent recent salvo.

The highlight is "Nate Will Not Return" – a shaggy dog tale in the vein of "Athlete Cured" – but throughout, Mark E Smith is on top grumpy old man form, whether as the scourge of idiotic internet warriors on "Laptop Dog" or bemoaning the experience of modern shopping on "Mask Search", with the never-more-pertinent couplet "I'm so sick of Snow Patrol/ And where to find Esso lubricant". And if he doesn't snarl "I had to wank off the cat to beat the fucking dog" at one point, then it sure sounds like he does.