The Fall

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About The Fall

The post-punk era was defined by rock bands expanding their horizons with non-rock influences, but for The Fall, the experimentation was as much verbal as musical. Upon forming in Manchester in 1976, The Fall were among the legion of cantankerous combos rising up in punk’s first wave, but the band’s frontman, Mark E. Smith, sounded less like a singer than a pirate-radio broadcaster narrating a never-ending documentary about England’s descent into dystopia. Early Fall records were a roiling mixture of rockabilly racket and primitive Krautrock, and by the time they released their first messterpiece, 1982’s Hex Enduction Hour, the group had already developed a reputation for revolving-door lineups that were as unsettled as their music. But with the addition of Smith’s American wife, Brix, in 1983, The Fall enjoyed a period of stability, brightening up their sound with synth accents, group-chant hooks, and Kinks covers that landed them within striking distance of the UK Top 20 charts. After Brix’s departure in the mid-’90s (around the time savvy Britpop bands like Blur and Elastica were channelling The Fall’s irascible essence), the group underwent many more permutations, yet always retained their uncanny balance of caustic energy and cryptic commentary right up until Mark E. Smith’s death in 2018 at age 60.

Manchester, England
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