The Light User Syndrome

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The Light User Syndrome
Studio album by
Released10 June 1996
StudioThe Dairy, London
GenreAlternative rock
The Fall chronology
The Twenty-Seven Points
The Light User Syndrome
Professional ratings
Review scores
Trouser Pressfavourable[5]

The Light User Syndrome is the 18th album by the Fall, released in 1996 on Jet Records. It was the group's first album to feature keyboard player and guitarist Julia Nagle and the last to feature Brix Smith, while longtime guitarist Craig Scanlon quit the group in late 1995 during troubled recording sessions for "The Chiselers" single which preceded the album. A version of "The Chiselers" is included on the album as "Interlude/Chilinism".

Brix Smith told Simon Ford that The Light User Syndrome was recorded very quickly, with Mark E. Smith absent for much of the recording, delivering nearly all his vocals on the final day.[6] Although Julia Nagle remembers recording the vocals took more than a week, Smith himself claimed half the vocals were actually just guide vocals, which he found had been mixed as the final vocals when he took a day off from the studio.[7] Despite this, alternate versions of many of the album's tracks featured heavily across the series of compilation albums issued by the Receiver label in the late 1990s. The album also features some vocals from producer Mike Bennett, as well as a rare lead vocal from drummer and guitarist Karl Burns on a cover version of Johnny Paycheck's "Stay Away (Ol' White Train)." The album's second cover version, "Last Chance to Turn Around", was a Top 20 hit for Gene Pitney in 1965.[8]

The tour supporting the album was disastrous due to Smith's heavy drinking and misbehaviour, with Brix walking out of the group after the soundcheck at Motherwell Concert Hall (although she would return for one last gig at the Forum in London) and a gig in Worthing being declared by long-serving bassist Steve Hanley to be the worst Fall gig ever.[9] By the end of the year, they were playing without Brix and Burns, (Julia Nagle took one Christmas concert off to be with her son). Burns would return during 1997 for follow-up album Levitate.[9]

Track listing[edit]

1."D.I.Y. Meat"Mark E. Smith, Brix Smith2:37
2."Das Vulture ans ein Nutter-Wain"M. Smith, Steve Hanley3:00
3."He Pep!"M. Smith, Simon Wolstencroft3:07
4."Hostile"M. Smith, B. Smith3:59
5."Stay Away (Old White Train)"Johnny Paycheck2:49
6."Spinetrak"M. Smith, B. Smith3:08
7."Interlude/Chilinism"M. Smith, Karl Burns, Hanley, Wolstencroft, Julia Nagle, Mike Bennett7:05
8."Powder Keg"M. Smith, Burns3:16
9."Oleano"M. Smith3:08
10."Cheetham Hill"M. Smith, Wolstencroft, Bennett3:31
11."The Coliseum"M. Smith, Simon Spencer8:08
12."Last Chance to Turn Around"Vic Milrose, Tony Bruno, Bob Elgin3:24
13."The Ballard of J. Drummer"M. Smith3:21
14."Oxymoron"M. Smith, Nagle4:02
15."Secession Man"M. Smith, Burns, Bennett4:49
Total length:59:30
1999 and 2002 reissue bonus tracks
13."The Chiselers" (single A-side, 1996)M. Smith, Burns, Hanley, Wolstencroft, Nagle3:14
14."Chilinist" (single B-side)M. Smith, Burns, Hanley, Wolstencroft, Nagle, Bennett6:15
Total length:68:59
  • On early copies of the album, "The Ballard of J. Drummer" was misprinted as "The Ballad of J. Drummer".


The album has been reissued twice, firstly by Receiver in 1999 and then by Castle Music in 2002. Both of these editions added "The Chiselers" single as well as its B-side "Chilinist".


The Fall
Additional personnel
  • Lucy Rimmer - backing vocals on "Stay Away", "Interlude"/"Chilinism" and "Last Chance to Turn Around"
  • Mike Bennett - production, vocals on "Interlude"/"Chilinism" and "Cheetham Hill"
  • Warren Bassett - engineering
  • Denis Blackham - mastering
  • Phil Rogers - sleeve design
  • Pete Cronin - photography


  1. ^ The Fall Discography.The Light User Syndrome Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The Chiselers". The Fall online. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ NME review Archived 2005-12-26 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Trouser Press entry
  6. ^ Ford, Simon (2003). Hip Priest: The Story Of Mark E Smith And The Fall. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-8167-2
  7. ^ Mark E. Smith - un-broadcast interview June 1996. 1996. Event occurs at 6m57s.
  8. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Song Review: Last Chance to Turn Around". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  9. ^ a b The Fall gigography | 1996 Archived 2011-08-19 at WebCite

External links[edit]

A web page with photos, about the recording of the album The Light User Syndrome from