Fall Heads Roll

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Fall Heads Roll
The Fall - Fall Heads Roll.jpg
Studio album by The Fall
Released 3 October 2005
Recorded 2005
Studio Gracieland Studios, Rochdale, UK/Gigantic Studios, New York City, US
Genre Alternative rock
Length 55:54
Label Slogan (UK)
Narnack Records (US)
Producer Mark E. Smith, Simon Archer, Tim Baxter
The Fall chronology
The Complete Peel Sessions 1978–2004
(2005)
Fall Heads Roll
(2005)
Reformation Post TLC
(2007)

Fall Heads Roll is the 24th studio album by British post-punk group The Fall, released in 2005. Although well-received by critics, it didn't reach the top 100 of the UK Albums Chart, and was the last album released by the band prior to major personnel changes.

Background, recording, and release[edit]

The album was recorded at Lisa Stansfield's Gracieland Studios in Rochdale, UK and at Gigantic Studios in New York City.

In a March 2005 interview with Kitchen Sink magazine prior to the album's release, singer Mark E. Smith mentioned Heads Are Rolling and If You Assume as two possible titles.[citation needed]

The album includes a cover version of The Move's "I Can Hear the Grass Grow", and "What About Us?", a song written from the point of view of an east German immigrant who berates Harold Shipman for giving morphine to old ladies instead of him.[1] "Breaking the Rules" evolved from the band's attempts to record "Walk Like a Man", with lyrics from a song by Bec Walker, an aspiring singer who had been on work experience at Gracieland Studios at the time the album was recorded. The album's closing track, "Trust in Me", features guest lead vocals from Kenny Cummings of the band Shelby, who had first met Smith and Elena Poulou at the Gigantic offices earlier on the day it was recorded, with additional vocal contributions from Phil Schuster of Shelby, Narnack producer Billy Nord, and Simon "Ding" Archer.[2]

Although the Sanctuary group had reissued several earlier Fall albums and their Peel Sessions box set (on their Castle Communications imprint), this was the first album of new Fall material to be released by them, on this occasion appearing on their Slogan label. The UK version was released on CD and as limited vinyl pressing of 1,000, and was preceded by a single release of "I Can Hear the Grass Grow".[3] In the US, the album was their second release with Narnack Records. The US double LP edition of the album contains a different version of the track "Blindness".

"Blindness" was used in a 2007 US television ad campaign for the Mitsubishi Outlander.[4]

It was the last album with this lineup of the band to be released; A later album was largely completed but left unreleased when Smith parted company with most of the band members.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic80/100[6]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[7]
BBCmixed[8]
Daily Post (Liverpool)mixed[9]
The Guardian5/5 stars[1]
Les Inrockuptiblesfavourable[10]
New Zealand Herald3/5 stars[11]
Pitchfork7.8/10[12]
PopMatters8/10 stars[13]
Tinymixtapes4/5 stars[14]
Uncut7/10 stars[15]

The album received generally positive reviews, with a score of 80 at Metacritic.[6] Alexis Petridis, reviewing the album for The Guardian, gave it a 5-star review, describing it as "of head-turning quality" and stating the "Youwanner" riff "could strip paint".[1] Joe Tangari, for Pitchfork, gave it 7.8 out of 10, calling it "a grab-bag of a Fall album with brilliant highs and scattered lows".[12] PopMatters' Josh Berquist gave it an 8/10 rating, stating "Fall Heads Roll resounds with the same kind of incongruous charm that ingratiated newcomers with The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall or The Unutterable".[13] Scott Kara, for the New Zealand Herald, gave it three stars, viewing it as the Fall "back to their raw, punchy and rocky best".[11] Tinymixtapes gave it 4 out of 5, describing "Blindness" as "an absolute classic". Pascal Bertin, reviewing the album for Les Inrockuptibles, stated that band had "recycled its own musical formula but manages once again to regenerate it".[10] AllMusic's David Jeffries gave it 3.5 stars, describing it as "a rocking album that relies heavily on its highlights", which he considered to be "Pacifying Joint", "What About Us", "Blindness", and their cover of "I Can Hear the Grass Grow".[7] BBC reviewer Nick Reynolds viewed Smith's performances on the album as erratic, stating "Sometimes he's as sharp as a needle, sometimes he's incomprehensible.", but viewed "Youwanner" and "Clasp Hands" as classic Fall tracks.[8] Chris Brown, for the Daily Post viewed it as not one of the band's best albums.[9]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Ride Away"Poulou, Smith5:01
2."Pacifying Joint"Smith3:46
3."What About Us?"Smith, Poulou5:51
4."Midnight in Aspen"Smith, Trafford3:13
5."Assume"Smith4:07
6."Midnight Aspen Reprise"Smith, Trafford1:52
7."Blindness"Smith, Birtwistle7:23*
8."Bo Demmick"Smith, Trafford, Birtwistle, Pritchard4:15
9."I Can Hear the Grass Grow"Roy Wood2:49
10."Youwanner"Smith, Archer, Pritchard5:02
11."Clasp Hands"Smith, Trafford2:45
12."Early Days of Channel Führer"Smith, Pritchard3:48
13."Breaking the Rules"Bec Walker2:26
14."Trust in Me"Smith, Trafford3:34
Total length:55:54

*7:11 on US double-LP.

On the back cover of the CD, tracks were printed in wrong order, and it included an additional insert labelled "The Real New Fall Tracklist" (as a reference to the group's previous album, The Real New Fall LP), featuring the correct track order.[citation needed]

Personnel[edit]

The Fall

Additional personnel

  • Simon "Ding" Archer – production; bass guitar on "Youwanner" and "Trust In Me", banjo on "Clasp Hands", vocals on "Trust in Me"
  • Billy Pavone – engineer, vocals on "Trust in Me", guitar on "Blindness" (US vinyl version)
  • Kenny Cummings – vocals on "Trust in Me"
  • Phil Schuster – vocals on "Trust in Me"
  • Tim Baxter – production

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Petridis, Alexis (2005) "The Fall, Fall Heads Roll", The Guardian, 9 December 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  2. ^ Breckenridge, Donald (2005) "The Fall: Fall Heads Roll", The Brooklyn Rail, 1 November 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  3. ^ "The Fall Back With New Album", NME, 10 August 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  4. ^ Maher, Dave (13 November 2006). "The Fall Ready Reformation, Contribute Song to Car Ad". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 10 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Simpson, Dave (2009) The Fallen: Life In and Out of Britain's Most Insane Group, Canongate Books, ISBN 978-1847671448, p. 289
  6. ^ a b "Fall Heads Roll by The Fall". Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Jeffries, David Fall Heads Roll at AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  8. ^ a b Reynolds, Nick (2002) "The Fall Fall Heads Roll Review", BBC. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  9. ^ a b Brown, Chris (2005) "The Fall Fall Heads Roll", Daily Post (Liverpool), 16 September 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  10. ^ a b Bertin, Pascal (2005) "Fall Heads Roll", Les Inrockuptibles, 30 September 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  11. ^ a b Kara, Scott (2005) "The Fall: Fall Heads Roll", New Zealand Herald, 3 December 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  12. ^ a b Tangari, Joe (9 October 2005). "The Fall: Fall Heads Roll Album Review - Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Berquist, Josh (2005) "The Fall: Fall Heads Roll", PopMatters, 29 November 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  14. ^ Grigsby (2005) "The Fall Fall Heads Roll", tinymixtapes. Retrieved 18 February 2018
  15. ^ "The Fall Fall Heads Roll", Uncut, November 2005, p. 96