David Cavanagh

Select, March 1992


Code Selfish (COG SINISTER)

The worst Fall album in years is still better than anything by Carter (letters to the usual address), but 'Code Selfish' is definitely a disappointment. From the aimless seven-minute opener, 'Birmingham', it has little of the grooviness of 'Pitsville Direkt', little of the pathos of 'Edinburgh Man' and very few great lines.

The arrangements are fussy and almost Industrial with loads of drum programming. The cleverly layered 'Free Range' is pretty bitchln'; 'Immortality" and 'Dangerous' have shades of 'Wrote For Luck' and, unfortunately, not much else.'Time Enough' and 'Just Waiting' are bleak-oramic shrugs of shoulders that the band inject a little life into, but, lyrically, Mark E Smith sounds utterly sapped as he views his mid-30's. 'Return' is much more spiky, although even here Smith is intoning "baby baby baby baby come back to me". You're well into the penultimate 'Married Two Kids', before you laugh aloud, and then it's over a horribly self-deprecating crack from Smith about his life going nowhere.

'Code Selfish' has bashes of brilliance - 'Everything Hurts' is a killer, with Craig Scanlon sounding like he's using a 50p piece as a plectrum. But when Smith mutters "too busy to think...too busy to work...just can't cut it" ('Married Two Kids') you're asking yourself serious questions. It's the glummest, least sarky Fall album ever, it doesn't wanna talk about it. It sounds worryingly like Mark E Smith is no longer buying the drinks. (3/5)