After the Fall released The Real New Fall LP in October 2003, the consistently great Narnack Records put out an American version of the album in 2004, just one week after a new addition was made to the band's endless best-of list (see my glowing review of 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong). Because 50,000 Fall Fans features some of the strongest British punk and post-punk released in the last thirty years (note that much of the band's work from the '90s is not included), it's questionable as to why Mark E. Smith thought his band's new LP would live up to the same standard.
Unlike early Fall albums, this one doesn't quite have the humorous Buzzcocks-meets-light Oi! sound that might be expected, but it's far too solid for the band to be thrown into the "aging rock stars" category just yet. Along with the perfectly cluttered "Mad Mock Goth," Smith's usual semi-senile rambling on "The Past" makes this album an instant winner. Generally speaking, The Real New Fall LP (Country on the Click was the album's pre-Internet-leak name) is one of the better records to be released this year, and it's one of the Fall's better recent releases. Given the choice between the new LP and their insanely perfect best-of, however, the Fall just can't seem to compete with itself.