And so it goes on, and The Fall regroup and deconstruct and implode and regather, and here we are again, and this triple CD set of 90s rarities and dodgy live tracks is a mediocre and overblown addition to the ouvre of this prolific and decidedly disrespectful outfit.
A triumvirate of long-players that appeared on the semi-bootleg imprint, Receiver Records, in the mid 90s, this collection speaks to hardened Fallites with a voice of slightly supercilious ease-of-talent. The collection will do your head in, basically, if you listen to all three CDs in a row. Even the most ardent Mark E. Smith acolytes would baulk at 47 tracks over some 4 hours of listening, hey?
But the genius one-liners and bizarre, skewiff worldview will pop out and grind you into submission nevertheless. Take _The Chiselers from CD2, Cheetham Hill**. The track purpleplods along with beaty beauty awhiles, then the line jumps out atcha:
“She Is Thirst. He Is Short. Pink Floyd Are Short”.
Evocative and erotic delivery from Brix, and fuggin bastarding fabulous. And if one line could sum up the band in this era, it is that. After 20ish years of crackling and cackling at it, even the outtakes and never-were tracks have moments where roses grow from the dogshit throwaway written-on-bus-ticket castoffery.
In fairness, there’s enough here to make it a fairly good investment for Fall completists. As it says in the sleevenotes, Time Enough At Last ain’t a Greatest Hits by any stretch of the imagination, and some of the tracks quite frankly should have remained buried underneath a pile of Mark E. Smith’s scrawled shopping lists of life – but in terms of a pure, unfettered flavour of the ideals and fundamental ethos of their approach to songwriting, lyricism and goddamn grumbleweed grace, it’s a tophole / bunghole release.
Listening to Time Enough At Last is like reading your 15 year old niece’s diary – dip in here and there and it’s fantastically exciting. Scanning it cover to cover, however, dulls the sensation of reading about the first-shag facereddening, lost amongst the banal dross about haircuts.