There has been a lot of change over the past 40 years with iconic British post-punk outfit The Fall, but the one constant through everything is founding member Mark E. Smith. Since forming in Manchester, England, in the mid-1970s, The Fall have undergone several lineup reshuffles and churned out dozens of albums and Smith has been there for them all.
“Sub-Lingual Tablet” is the 31st (!!) album from The Fall and features the abrasive guitar-centric sound that has becomes the band’s trademark over the decades. Smith’s voice, always distinctive, has grown even harsher with age. Peter Greenway (guitar), Keiron Melling (drums), Elena Poulou (keyboards/vocals) and David Spurr (bass) round out the current incarnation of the band.
The Fall are very much an acquired taste and though there are some nice moments to be found on “Sub-Lingual Tablet,” the momentum wanes over the course of 11 tracks spanning 51 minutes. Among the keepers are “Venice With the Girls,” “First One Today,” the sprawling “Auto Chip 14-15” and “Facebook Troll.” Less effective are “Black Door,” “Junger Cloth” and “Quit iPhone.” (Jeffrey Sisk)