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Seminal Live

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Being a Fall fan means finding interest in all the band does. Seminal Live has caused many to quip that the album is neither "seminal" nor entirely "live." The first cuts are new studio recordings that made up side one of the vinyl LP. "Mollusc in Tyrol" has been called "unbearable," but its weirdness is strangely compelling. The single "Dead Beat Descendant" is prime catchy Fall, and part of the final batch of tunes released with Brix Smith until her slight return in the mid-'90s. Lonnie Irving's "Pinball Machine" fulfills leader Mark E. Smith's need to find obscure covers to reinvent; it features bassist Steve Hanley on banjo. The live tracks were recorded at the Arena in Vienna, G-Mex in Manchester, and unknown locations in 1988. "Hit the North" has a sweeping presence. "Elf Prefix/L.A." is gloriously grungy. The cover of The Kinks' "Victoria" is solid, even if the recording's slightly distant. Bill Grundy is the uncredited voice of "Intro" that leads to a muddy but determined version of "Cruisers Creek." Simon Wolstencroft's drums and Marcia Schofield's keyboards give the band intriguing depth.


Formed: 1977 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Out of all the late-'70s punk and post-punk bands, none are longer lived or more prolific than the Fall. Throughout their career, the band underwent myriad lineup changes, but at the center of it all was vocalist Mark E. Smith. With his snarling, nearly incomprehensible vocals and consuming, bitter cynicism, Smith became a cult legend in indie and alternative rock. Over the course of their career, the Fall went through a number of shifts in musical style, yet the foundation of their sound was a near-cacophonous,...
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