I really can’t believe that there’s only seven Fall records left on my list. I mean, eight, if you include the live album that came out a couple weeks ago that I’m planning to squeeze in to the last three days before 2014 is up, but yeah. Only four more full-length records to go, including this week’s Imperial Wax Solvent. The band’s highest charting effort since they broke the top ten that one and only time with The Infotainment Scan, and the first time they’ve cracked the top forty since as well, reaching number 35. It’s pretty baffling that it managed one hundred and twenty one places higher than Real New Fall, and 80 higher than Fall Heads Roll, because they’re both much better records that showed what the Fall in the early 00s could do when they took a couple of years to work on a record without losing half of their members in between.
Still, Imperial Wax Solvent ain’t a bad one, not really. It’s kind of like a cross between Are You Are Missing Winner and Reformation Post-TLC in a way– crunchy and raw lo-fi production, with a certain directness to it, despite plenty of aimless dicking around (I like the banjo part to be fair) and a continuation of the feeling that Smith and his “merry” band have already run out of the momentum they’d seemed to pick up a few years previously, something that was true on both of those records and continues to be true here. Yet another Fall album that feels so indistinctive that it barely seems worth commenting on. I’ve said this about random EPs in the past, but it rings true for this major release too – I really can’t imagine that Fall fans go reaching for their copy of Imperial Wax Solvent all too often. Everything on offer here is done better elsewhere. It’s just standard, right down to the record cover.
I hate to say it, but it’s all just contributing to my overwhelming lack of interest as the year presses on. Yeah, I mean, '50 Year Old Man' is actually surprisingly good, considering it claims the title of longest fall song at 11:37, filled with rambly twists and turns, the buzzy synth-heavy pop singalong of 'I’ve Been Duped' is nice and catchy, the noisy electronics on 'Taurig' drag you out of your mid-record stupor (despite eventually dragging you back in to it again), but Imperial Wax Solvent generally just fades in to the background all too easily. I remember reading a review of the most recent Jay Z album that said it was pretty good, sure, but a few years down the line no one will be looking back on this period of his career and holding it up as one with that much merit in relation to the whole – the same is true of The Fall at this point. Another slump, it looks like.
Uhhh. Yeah. That’s about it.