Imperial Wax Solvent

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Imperial Wax Solvent
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 28th 2008 (UK)
GenreAlternative rock
LabelCastle (UK)
ProducerGrant Showbiz, Mark E. Smith, Andi Toma, Tim Baxter
The Fall chronology
Reformation Post TLC
Imperial Wax Solvent
Your Future Our Clutter
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Drowned in Sound8/10[3]
The Guardian4/5 stars[4]
The Independent4/5 stars[5]
Mojo4/5 stars[6]
Uncut4/5 stars[8]

Imperial Wax Solvent is a studio album by the Fall – the band's 26th – released in the UK on April 28, 2008.

The album featured a new British-based lineup after the departures of the American musicians who had been recruited to salvage a 2006 tour of the US and subsequently appeared on 2007's Reformation Post TLC. Singer and frontman Mark E. Smith, keyboardist Elena Poulou and bassist Dave Spurr remain from the previous incarnation. They were joined on Imperial by guitarist Pete Greenway (a guest guitarist on the previous album) and drummer Keiron Melling.

It was the first Fall album since 2001's Are You Are Missing Winner to have been turned around in a year. An album a year was always the norm for the group in the past but this practice slipped in the period 2001-2007 (2006 was the first year since the group's inception that saw the emergence of no new material at all, with a cover of The Monks' "Higgledy Piggledy" being the only recorded appearance).

Imperial Wax Solvent was the first studio album since Are You Are Missing Winner to make prominent use of the low-fi production techniques which were previously one of The Fall's hallmarks: the Groundhogs cover "Strangetown" has noticeable skips, and certain tracks on the album are presented in mono.

The album was well-received by critics, scoring an 81/100 on Metacritic.[9] The album entered the UK pop charts at #35,[10] The Fall's first time on the Top 40 since 1993's The Infotainment Scan reached #9.

The album received some press attention when, due to a pressing error, the music of the album was recorded onto the first shipment of Faryl Smith's debut album Faryl. The record label, Universal Classics and Jazz, was said to have "severe words" with the pressing plant.[11] The incident attracted international attention.[12]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Alton Towers" (Mark E. Smith, David Spurr) – 3:29
  2. "Wolf Kidult Man" (Smith, Spurr, Eleni Poulou) – 3:02
  3. "50 Year Old Man" (Smith, Spurr) – 11:36
  4. "I've Been Duped" (Smith) – 2:44
  5. "Strangetown" (T.S. McPhee) – 5:41 (includes elements of "Garden", also written by McPhee and originally performed by The Groundhogs)
  6. "Taurig" (Poulou) – 2:59
  7. "Can Can Summer" (Smith, Spurr, Polou, Keiron Melling, Peter Greenway) – 3:08
  8. "Tommy Shooter" (Smith) – 3:45
  9. "Latch Key Kid" (Smith, Spurr, Poulou) – 3:20
  10. "Is This New" (Smith, Andi Toma) – 2:14
  11. "Senior Twilight Stock Replacer" (Smith, Spurr) – 3:08
  12. "Exploding Chimney" (Smith, Spurr, Melling, Poulou, Greenway) – 2:25


The Fall

  • Mark E. Smith - vocals, production
  • Eleni Poulou - keyboards, vocals
  • Peter Greenway - guitar
  • David Spurr - bass guitar
  • Keiron Melling - drums

Additional personnel


  1. ^ allmusic review
  2. ^ BBC review
  3. ^ Drowned In Sound review Archived 2008-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The Guardian review
  5. ^ The Independent review
  6. ^ Mojo review
  7. ^ Pitchfork Media review Archived 2008-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Uncut review
  9. ^ The Fall: Imperial Wax Solvent (2008): Reviews
  10. ^ UK Pop Music Charts May 5, 2008
  11. ^ Smart, Gordon (2009-02-23). "Faryl has pressing problems". The Sun. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009.
  12. ^ Thiessen, Brock (2009-03-03). "Universal Mistakenly Presses the Fall Album Instead of Teen Got Talent Winner". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009.