Dragnet (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Studio album by The Fall
Released 26 October 1979
Recorded 2–4 August 1979
Studio Cargo Studios, Rochdale, England
Genre Post-punk, art punk
Length 45:42
Label Step-Forward
Producer The Fall, Grant Showbiz
The Fall chronology
Live at the Witch Trials
Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never)

Dragnet is the second studio album by English art punk band The Fall. It was released on 26 October 1979, through record label Step-Forward. Having come out less than eight months after its predecessor, Dragnet established at an early stage two key patterns of the group's work; that of high productivity and that of a regular turnover of group members.[1]

Background and recording[edit]

Only Mark E. Smith and Marc Riley remained in the lineup from the début album, Live at the Witch Trials. Drummer Karl Burns left soon after recording and was replaced by Mike Leigh, while founder member Martin Bramah quit mid-tour in April 1979, when much of the material intended for the second album was already written. Smith quickly recruited guitarist Craig Scanlon and bassist Steve Hanley, Fall roadies and members of support band Staff 9; both were just 19 when they joined the group and would form The Fall's musical backbone until the mid-90s. Riley meanwhile had moved from bass guitar to guitar (his first instrument), and also started to play keyboards following Yvonne Pawlett's departure after recording "Rowche Rumble" single.

The album, titled Dragnet, was recorded on 2–4 August 1979. Dragnet's sound was notably muddy and lo-fi – Riley has claimed this was a deliberate contrast to the sharp, clean sound of Live at the Witch Trials[1], while Smith claimed that the recording studio was so appalled by the sound that the group were asked to remove the studio's name from the album sleeve. Martin Bramah did not receive credit for his contributions and there were several songs that were altered heavily by the group after his departure. Among these was "Before The Moon Falls," which had its musical backing a tune which later became the basis for The Blue Orchids' "Work".

The album is somewhat self-referential lyrically, with several songs referencing the music industry. At least two tracks, "Printhead" and "Your Heart Out", quote or paraphrase reviews of the band's live shows. "Printhead" even verifies this fact within its own lyric. "Dice Man" takes its title from the novel The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart.

Dragnet would be the group's final album for Miles Copeland III's Step-Forward label, with them signing to Rough Trade Records in early 1980.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Drowned in Sound very favourable[3]

Reviews for Dragnet have been generally favourable. The album was ranked at No. 35 among the top "Albums of the Year" for 1979 by NME, with "Rowche Rumble" ranked at No. 21 among the year's top tracks.[4] Trouser Press opined that Dragnet is "not one of The Fall's best efforts, but contains at least two classic numbers, 'Spectre vs. Rector' and 'A Figure Walks.'".[5]


The 2004 CD edition of the album (remastered for the first time from the original master tapes) issued via Castle Music added not just the contemporary singles "Rowche Rumble" and "Fiery Jack" and their B-sides, but also previously unheard alternate takes and breakdowns from the "Rowche Rumble" recording sessions.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks arranged by The Fall except "Printhead" (arranged by The Fall and Martin Bramah).

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Psykick Dancehall" Mark E. Smith, Marc Riley 3:48
2. "A Figure Walks" Smith 6:08
3. "Printhead" Smith 3:15
4. "Dice Man" Smith, Riley, Craig Scanlon 1:45
5. "Before the Moon Falls" Mike Leigh, Scanlon, Riley, Steve Hanley, Smith 4:31
6. "Your Heart Out" The Fall 3:07
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Muzorewi's Daughter" Kay Carroll, Smith 3:43
2. "Flat of Angles" Leigh, Scanlon, Riley, Hanley, Smith 4:55
3. "Choc-Stock" The Fall 2:37
4. "Spectre Vs Rector" Smith, Leigh, Scanlon, Hanley 7:56
5. "Put Away" Smith 3:26


The Fall
  • Mark E. Smith – vocals, electric piano, kazoo, tape, co-production
  • Steve Hanley – bass guitar, backing vocals, co-production
  • Marc Riley – guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals, co-production
  • Craig Scanlon – guitar, electric piano, kazoo, tape, co-production (credited as 'Craig Scanlan')
  • Mike Leigh – drums, co-production
  • Kay Carroll – backing vocals (credited as Mrs. Horace Sullivan)
  • Yvonne Pawlett – keyboards ("Rowche Rumble" and "In My Area")


  1. ^ a b Myers, Martin (2006). "Dragnet vs. Dub Housing". Pseud Mag (9). 
  2. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Dragnet – The Fall : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Fall – Live at the Witch Trials / Dragnet / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. 10 March 2004. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Azzerad, Michael; Wolk, Douglas; Pattyn, Jay. "trouserpress.com :: Fall". trouserpress.com. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 

External links[edit]