Are You Are Missing Winner
|Are You Are Missing Winner|
|Studio album by The Fall|
|Released||5 November 2001|
|Label||Cog Sinister / Voiceprint|
|Producer||Mark E. Smith, Jim Watts, Spencer Birtwistle, Ed Blaney|
|The Fall chronology|
Background and recording
Since the previous year's release of the critically acclaimed The Unutterable, Fall front man Mark E. Smith had replaced his entire band with a new line-up, a fact he acknowledges in a refrain in the album's opening track: "We are the new Fall".
The group was short of money at the time, so the album was recorded very quickly in a cheap studio. Guitarist Ben Pritchard described the making of the album as a "very miserable experience [...] There were rats running around. There was a weightlifter's gymnasium above us, you'd be recording a take and suddenly you'd hear BOOM dropping barbells and dumb-bells on the floor and you'd have to stop and start again".
The Unutterable's flirtation with drum and bass is replaced on Are You Are Missing Winner by a more rockabilly-influenced sound. The album features a cover version of the northern soul track "Gotta See Jane", originally by R. Dean Taylor (The Fall had previously achieved a minor hit in 1987 with a version of Taylor's "There's a Ghost in My House"). Also featured are versions of Lead Belly's "The Bourgeois Blues", as "Bourgeois Town"; and of Iggy Pop's "African Man", as "Ibis-Afro Man"; the latter being particularly experimental with different recordings of the track frequently playing simultaneously throughout.
The album's release was so rushed that the tracks weren't even mastered properly, resulting in wildly uneven audio levels and quality. It was remastered in 2006 for a Castle Music reissue.
Critical reception to Are You Are Missing Winner was somewhat mixed, often focusing unfavourably on the contrast with The Unutterable. Among the album's more negative reviews is that of John Bush of Allmusic, who suggests, "Are You Are Missing Winner represents a rare misstep for the mighty Fall." Edwin Pouncey, writing in The Wire, is more upbeat: "…Smith scatterguns half remembered lyrics and conducts a whirlpool of splintered guitar, dishevelled drum and battered bass sounds with a Quasimodic Gene Vincent leather gloved fist that claws even deeper into the raw clay of innovation that birthed rock 'n' roll and continues to fuel Smith's unique vision."
- "Jim's "The Fall"" (Mark E. Smith, Jim Watts) – 2:39
- "Bourgeois Town" (Lead Belly, arr. Smith) – 3:41 (credited incorrectly to Robert Johnson in album liner notes)
- "Crop-Dust" (Smith, Spencer Birtwistle) – 5:31 (based on a sample of "I Just Sing" by The Troggs, though uncredited)
- "My Ex-Classmates' Kids" (Smith, Ed Blaney) – 4:51
- "Kick the Can" (Smith, Ben Pritchard) – 5:13
- "Gotta See Jane" (R. Dean Taylor) – 2:23
- "Ibis-Afro Man" (Iggy Pop, Scott Thurston, Smith, Watts) – 9:32
- "The Acute" (Smith, Brian Fanning) – 3:19
- "Hollow Mind" (Smith, Blaney) – 3:32
- "Reprise: Jane – Prof Mick – Ey Bastardo" (Birtwistle, Blaney) – 7:00
Some CD copies have tracks 4 and 5 in the reverse order, despite the order being listed as above.
The album was remastered and expanded by Castle Music in 2006. The sound quality is audibly less erratic than on the original edition and 6 extra tracks are added as follows:
- "Rude (All The Time)" (Smith, Blaney) – 2:44
- "I Wake Up In The City" (Smith, Blaney) – 4:40
- "New Formation Sermon" (Smith) – 2:04
- "Distilled Mug Art" (Smith, Blaney) – 3:33
- "My Ex-Classmates' Kids" (live in Cologne 23rd October 2001) – 4:59
- "Where's The Fuckin' Taxi? Cunt" (Smith, Blaney, Fanning, Les Fisher) – 5:09
"Rude (All The Time)" and "I Wake Up In the City" were previously issued on a 7" single by Flitwick Records in an edition of 500, all of which were given away to subscribers free of charge. "...City", "New Formation Sermon" and "Distilled Mug Art" were included on 2G+2. The live "...Ex-Classmates'..." was included on the single release of "Theme From Sparta F.C. #2". The final track was taken from the controversial "Rude (All The Time)" EP issued by Voiceprint in 2005 and is little more than a recorded discussion amongst the credited personnel.
- Mark E. Smith – vocals
- Jim Watts – bass guitar, guitar, vocals
- Spencer Birtwistle – drums
- Ben Pritchard – guitar, vocals
- Brian Fanning – guitar, vocals; bass on "Ey Bastardo"
- Ed Blaney – guitar, vocals
- Julia Nagle – keyboards on "Ibis-Afro Man" - uncredited; a section of this track is taken from a live recording from 23 April 2001 at the Mean Fiddler in London. Nagle was still in the band at this point and is clearly heard on the track.
- Steve Lloyd – engineering
- The Unofficial Fall Website - Interview with Ben Pritchard 12 June 2006, part 2
- Allmusic review
- BBC Music review
- Q review
- The Times review
- The Wire review
- Bush, John. Review. Allmusic. Retrieved 6 February 2006.
- Pouncey, Edwin (Feb. 2002). Review. The Wire.