The Fall includes: Mark E. Smith (vocals, guitar); Simon Wolstencroft (drums); Marcia Schofield.
Die-hard fans might be disappointed by the apparent lack of lyrical bile and sonic dissonance on offer, but SHIFT WORK is a perfect place for beginners to enter the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall. All the instruments are in tune, and there's an uncharacteristic glossy sheen to the proceedings. Most shocking of all, Mark E. Smith demonstrates a hitherto unknown sensitive side. Seemingly recorded in a rare moment of lucidity, SHIFT WORK is one of the group's most accessible albums.
This is the sound of The Fall stripped down to basics after the sonic complexity and experimentation of the previous decade. A few of the up-tempo tracks betray the influence of house music and the early '90s Manchester music scene, but Smith is unforgiving in his portrayal of those "idiot groups with no shape or form, out of their heads on a quid of blow." Two ballads, "Edinburgh Man" and "Rose," catch Smith in a reflective mood. The latter is a simple open letter to Brix, his ex-wife and ex-guitarist. It's not exactly Burt Bacharach, but in Fall terms, this is easy listening.