Ersatz GB

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Ersatz GB
Ersatz G.B. cover.jpg
Studio album by The Fall
Released 14 November 2011
Recorded 2011
Genre Alternative rock
Length 45:41
Label Cherry Red
Producer Simon Archer, Mark E. Smith
The Fall chronology
Your Future Our Clutter
Ersatz GB

Ersatz GB is the 28th studio album by the post-punk band The Fall, released on Cherry Red Records 14 November 2011. It is The Fall's first album on Cherry Red.

Ersatz GB was named as a play on the title of the 1978 novel "SS GB" by Len Deighton and marks the first time in the history of The Fall that the group have released three consecutive studio albums recorded with the same line-up.


Ersatz GB was recorded partially in London with lead singer Mark E. Smith's vocals being recorded at ToeRag Studios in Hackney and partially in Berlin.[1] It features the same group lineup as its two immediate predecessors, Imperial Wax Solvent (2008) and Your Future Our Clutter (2010), establishing the current lineup as unusually stable by The Fall's standards.[2] The album was produced by Mark E. Smith and The Fall's frequent collaborator and former bass guitarist Simon Archer.[3] In his sleevenotes for the album, Smith wrote that "brighter mixes and versions, tracks" existed, but that these were dismissed because "brightness does not fit with ERSATZ GB".[3] In a 2012 interview, Smith claimed that the mix that was released was not the one he preferred.[4]

All 10 songs on the album were extensively previewed by the group live, and the first song to appear in live sets - "Greenway" - appeared early in the tour for previous album Your Future Our Clutter.[citation needed]


One year before its release, Mark E. Smith described Ersatz GB as "a lot heavier" than its predecessors.[5] Keyboardist Eleni Poulou stated that she added "a lot of keyboard layers on this one, in an atmospheric, melodic way", preferring to use analogue rather than digital keyboards.[1] She also sang lead vocals on "Happi Song".[6]

Critics suggested that the music of Ersatz GB was influenced by rockabilly and krautrock, known to be among Smith's favourite genres.[6][2][7] Other possible influences identified by critics included Captain Beefheart[8] and The Velvet Underground.[6] The song "Greenway" is based on "Gameboy" by the Greek comedy metal band Anorimoi, from their 2005 album Kings of Feta.[8] Smith wrote new lyrics for the song in English.[5]

Lyrical content[edit]

Characteristically, Mark E. Smith's lyrics for the album were distinct and cryptic,[9][8] alternating between seemingly free association[10][8] and narration.[8]

In "Nate Will Not Return", Smith makes multiple references to the TV show Gossip Girl, and the song may be named after the character Nate Archibald.[11][12] Most lines in the song rhyme with "Nate",[13] including passing references to Tate Gallery and an earlier The Fall song, "Hot Cake".

"Greenway" shares its name with the band's guitarist, Peter Greenway. According to Peter Greenway, the song is not about him, but about Smith's perception of what he should be like: A "gangster type who doesn't take any shit ... a nasty guy ... Quite far from the truth, to be honest".[1] In the song, the singer relates seeing his own lookalike in a music video and visiting a "snotty and offensive" group of people at their hotel room. Critics Luke Turner of The Quietus and Ben Ratliff of The New York Times interpreted "Greenway" as an attack on the band These New Puritans, who were explicitly mentioned by Smith during live performances of the song.[11][8]


Cherry Red Records announced that they had signed The Fall and would release their new album later in 2011 in April 2011.[14] Ersatz GB was released on CD, digital download, and limited edition vinyl on 14 November 2011.[15] It was preceded by a single, "Laptop Dog", released on limited edition 7" vinyl and digital download on 7 November.[15][16]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 62/100[17]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[18]
BBC unfavourable[6]
The Bulletin 5/5 stars[2]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[7]
NME 8/10 stars[9]
The New York Times mixed[8]
Pitchfork 2.2/10[13]
The Quietus favourable[11]
Spin 7/10 stars[19]
The Wire favourable[12]

Ersatz GB received mixed reviews.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Cosmos 7" - 2:48 (Mark E. Smith, David Spurr)
  2. "Taking Off" - 4:01 (Smith, Peter Greenway)
  3. "Nate Will Not Return" - 6:02 (Smith, Greenway, Spurr)
  4. "Mask Search" - 2:41 (Smith, Greenway)
  5. "Greenway" - 4:13 (Smith, Dimitris Ioakimoglou)
  6. "Happi Song" - 4:19 (Eleni Poulou)
  7. "Monocard" - 8:08 (Smith, Spurr, Keiron Melling)
  8. "Laptop Dog" - 4:01 (Smith, Greenway)
  9. "I've Seen Them Come" - 6:05 (Smith)
  10. "Age of Chang" - 3:27 (Smith, Spurr) [20]


The Fall

Additional personnel

  • Simon Archer - production
  • Mark Kennedy - cover art


  1. ^ a b c Harrison, Ian (14 November 2011). "The Fall Speak: "Computers Are Middle-Class!"". MOJO. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Doutreligne, PM (18 November 2011). "The Fall: Ersatz GB". PM Doutreligne. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Ersatz GB (Cherry Red, 2011) CD sleevenotes.
  4. ^ Sweeney, Eamon. "Falling in Hate" (PDF). Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Doran, John (24 November 2010). "Fall To Release "Greek Heavy Metal" Album". The Quietus. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d Mulholland, Gary (17 November 2011). "The Fall - Ersatz G.B.: Review". BBC. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Rob (10 November 2011). "The Fall: Ersatz GB – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Parelese, Jon; Caramanica, Jon; Ratliff, Ben (14 November 2011). "New Albums From Caveman, Los Campesinos! and the Fall". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Hewitt, Ben (14 November 2011). "Album Review: The Fall - 'Ersatz GB'". New Musical Express. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Fielding, Simon (27 October 2011). "The Fall – Ersatz G.B." The Skinny. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Turner, Luke (18 November 2011). "The Fall: Ersatz G.B." The Quietus. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Masters, Marc (November 2011). "The Fall: Ersatz GB". The Wire (333): 58. 
  13. ^ a b Wolk, Douglas (1 December 2011). "The Fall: Ersatz G.B." Pitchfork. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Turner, Luke (28 April 2011). "The Fall Sign To Cherry Red". The Quietus. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Ersatz GB: News". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Lap Top Dog Single - The Fall". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Ersatz G.B. by The Fall". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Ersatz G.B. - The Fall - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  19. ^ Peisner, David (December 2011). "The Fall 'Ersatz G.B.'". SPIN. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Cherry Red website "The Fall: Ersatz G.B." . Retrieved 18 October 2011.