Album: The Fall, Imperial Wax Solvent (Sanctuary)

"I'm a 50-year-old man!" snarls Mark E Smith on this latest Fall album, adding chippily, "What you gonna do about it?" It's not so much a question as a challenge, and a rhetorical one, at that.

For nothing seems able to halt Smith's progress. Just when you think The Fall must finally fail its MOT, he tinkers around beneath the bonnet, slams it shut with a shower of rust, and off it trundles again, taking us on a tour round a Britain whose populace – including such archetypes as "Wolf Kidult Man", "Tommy Shooter", "Latch Key Kid" and "Senior Twilight Stock Replacer" – seems closer to reality than any politician's fantasy. Intellectual tumbleweed blows across the daytime TV desert of "Is This New", while over in "Alton Towers", the "spawn of J-Loaded Brown and an elephant crawl around". It's all set to the usual gamut of chugging grinds and juggernaut rolls, with the aforementioned "50 Year Old Man" providing a 10-minute centrepiece incorporating virtually every facet of Fall sound, from Krautrock stomp to desultory banjo and back again.

Pick of the Album: '50 Year Old Man', 'Wolf Kidult Man', 'Senior Twilight Stock Replacer'

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