VARIOUS ARTISTS - Perverted By Mark E.

Various Artists - Perverted By Mark E.

29 songs
118:04 minutes
***** **
What's So Funny About


Basically, there are three groups of people: the biggest one is composed of people probably never having heard of the Fall, then there is a tiny amount of fanatics guilty of having created a cult of personality around the Fall's mastermind Mark E. Smith, and in the unlucky middle, there's people like me who thought until today it was sufficient to own the A-Sides and B-Sides compilations of the Fall, and even listen to the A-Sides once in a while.

Well, today, in front of the Internet, I learned more about the Fall than I ever actually wanted to. To the uninitiated, it's Mark E. Smith hiring and firing people at will. Call me a heretic now, but I will never be a huge Smith fan. But still I have a lot of respect for this double CD compilation which is a truly weird tribute to a truly weird artists. Where you normally have bands covering their idols, Perverted By Mark E. shows more different faces. First of all, the songs are divided by being either regular cover versions or by being stories about Mark E. Smith and the Fall. Of course it's the latter part that emphasises the cult of personality, but then Smith is a rather unique artists, drawling, snarling in a snotty hard to understand way, not really a good singer, but again someone unique. Never having been punk, rather post-punk, with a strong preference for avantgarde sounds like Can, it's obvious that the Fall never really aimed at commerciality, but still they were close to mainstream in the mid-80s (which is my favourite phase of the band).

At a first glance, there are not too many known bands among the contributors, only Knarf Rellöm and Tocotronic (featured with an older selection) should ring a bell. But looking deeper, you find artists playing in such diverse bands as Swell Maps, Pavement, Codeine, Low, Giant Sand, Flowerpornoes and Tall Dwarfs. If you are familiar with these bands, then you might have the guts to check out this tribute album.

Hats off to the Woog Riots, another band featured on the album. They have invested 18 months into compiling this album, which meant contacting scores of artists, finding like-minded people (like Barbara Manning, whom they cover, and who is also featured here) and coming up with a really different sort of tribute album. If you are looking for hits, you'll only find Oh! Brother and C.R.E.E.P., so you might as well buy the regular A-Sides compilation (and yes, that's a better way to start your relationship with the Fall). Those who are already converted probably will love the anecdotes they can find here.

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