I've got a review of the new Fall album up at Blurt now. It's not as good as the last couple, but still worth a listen...that's the gist of my opinion. Actually, I really liked Douglas Wolk's review of the same album in PFK yesterday and wonder if I'm one of those people who's been blinded by Smith's persona. Our main difference is that I really liked the instrumental backing and Wolk thought it was weak. But anyway, here's a bit from mine:
"Ersatz G.B. finds him in fine and vicious form, savaging Snow Patrol and laptop users and British folk singers with geriatric venom. His band, the same since Your Future Our Clutter, locks in behind him, furnishing the hard-hammered foundation, the funk-punk-robot rigor, that give his rantings scale and drama and a weird euphoric edge. Consider, for instance, how "Mask Search" bounces bodily on an elastic bass line, how its guitar twitches with ecstatic tension, how the whole thing shimmies and pulses with sensual life, and how Smith hems and haws above it all, muttering about encaustic and lime. Or, the bizarre, metal-crunching "Greenway" how Smith's gargling, ravaged voice rises above the mayhem to inject some existential uncertainty. ("Channel hopping the other day through Danish Rock TV, I noticed a video where the person had a remarkable, coincidental resemblance to myself, to the video I was in recently," he recounts, entirely discounting the possibility that it was him.) The band's discipline, its blocked out musical precision, contrasts powerfully with Smith's visionary wanderings. Neither would work nearly as well by itself."
And here's Wolk's take.
There was also a rather good profile of Smith and the Fall in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago.