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This Nation’s Saving Grace

The Fall

1985

This Nation’s Saving Grace
Album Summary

This Nation's Saving Grace is the eighth studio album by English post-punk band the Fall, released in 1985 by Beggars Banquet. The lyrics and singing melodies were written by vocalist Mark E. Smith, with a portion of the music composed by his newly wed wife American Brix Smith, who joined the band just before their previous album The Wonderful and Frightening World Of... (1984). The album emphasises Brix's pop sensibilities and guitar hooks, emphasised by Leckie's accessible production, and stands in contrast with the band's earlier recording. TNSG was produced by John Leckie and promoted by the singles "Couldn't Get Ahead" and "Cruiser's Creek" and tours of Europe and America. It is widely considered one of the Fall's best albums, both by critics and by Brix and bassist Steve Hanley. According to The Guardian, it shows the band "operating just on the edge of the mainstream and at the peak of their accessibility and yet strangeness". In 2002, Pitchfork ranked it as the 13th best album of the 1980s.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.94

Votes

11015

Genres

  • Post Punk

Reviews

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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

Mark E. Smith sounds like he's on the wrong end of a radio for much of the runtime. A radio somewhere with thick, poisonous air, a shot out of a horror film. The difficulty doesn't come from that, however. It comes from the complexity of the texture. My ear was frustrated at first, and even after latching onto the guitars the rest of the music evaded simple recognition. In an ideal world, I'd prefer more and stickier bass and drum grooves: The guitar lines are too subtle to hook me. The samples (?) and occasional instruments are used deftly, on the other hand, and there is clearly precedent here for Sleaford Mods and Viagra Boys, very different bands which I am more familiar with. L.A. is a highlight, denser than the rest of the tracks and operating as a sonic and geographic escape. There's a horn-like tone on one of the early tracks which truly sounds wrathful. Damo Suzuki annoyed me a little bit. It's a meandering project, not quite as discursive as I prefer. The music feels litanic at times, but there are enough excursions from that space to keep things fresh.

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Fri Sep 03 2021
2

I don’t like it. The British punk thing is cool, but it sounds like they were writing these songs while they were recording them. They found a two-bar lick they liked, stuck it on repeat, and mumbled over top of it.

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Sat Jun 12 2021
5

I've always skirted around The Fall, never truly getting into them or learning about them. Very glad I'm getting the chance to- only a few songs in and I can tell I really like it. It feels like hypnotic, half-obscene punky ramblings. "Spoilt Victorian Child", "LA", were fantastic.

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Wed Jul 28 2021
4

What a lovely drunkard. Such grooves.

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Sun Mar 12 2023
5

i had a beer with Mark E Smith once at some sort of "After Party" for a gig they did where my friends band supported them. he was exactly as everyone has ever said he is. i've met countless regulars in pubs with a vicious tongue and you never have a clue if they're being serious or not and that is the overall vibe Mark E gave off about the fall. it's like he found out a scam where he could spend all his time in the pub by being in a band and he didn't want anyone else to find out his secret, which is probably why he sacked people so often, they got too close to his secret. That they kept coming up with music that is so unique is absolutely mystifying. you expect this type of avant garde spiky post punk to come from an uber hipster not someone who looks and behaves like an accountant who's fallen on hard times that carries his stuff around in plastic carrier bags. I probably should have tried a bit harder as he might have recruited me as another willing participant of the fall army.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

The missing link for me for so many bands that I like

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Sun Feb 20 2022
5

Surprisingly excellent. I’m a big punk fan but I’d never heard of The Fall and I’m so glad I did. Really cool kinda droning art-rock take on punk music. Reminds me of Velvet Underground or like a pre-LCD Soundsystem

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Fri Jun 17 2022
5

I know few of The Fall's albums but this is fantastic. Looking forward to wading through their other 31 albums for anything approaching TNSG. I love the sequence of 'My New House', 'Paintwork', 'Damo Suzuki', and 'To Nk'.

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Fri May 14 2021
4

Wasn't expecting to enjoy this, but there are some real gems on there... especially paintwork.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
4

A chaotic postpunk entry that, just like many of The Fall's albums, requires several listens to either understand or shrug off. Production is lofi but full of intense energy and humor. Wild instrumentation and atonal devices demonstrate the peak of their creativity. Songs are fully fleshed out, with most of them running for 4-6 minutes, yet you never know where a song is headed. It's unpredictable to the point where many songs are intentionally repetitive but then travel in a sudden and unexpected direction. Few tracks I still find annoying, and I think an hour is too much to process. Thoroughly enjoyed Brix's contributions, who apparently wrote many of the songs. Favorites: Barmy, Spoilt Victorian Child, LA, Paintwork, I Am Damo Suzuki

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Sun May 16 2021
2

Definitely cool, but a bit cacophonous for me

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Mon Mar 25 2024
2

If I were really drunk and stumbled into a 4 am bar, I'd probably love this band. The vocalist sounds like he's been punched in the face a lot, which makes me wonder if he sings like that because he's been punched in the face so much, or if he gets punched in the face so much because he sings like that. I did sort of like the first track, but there were no vocals. If I were making a horror film, I'd probably try to use that track in it.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
1

Wonder if it's better than Live at the Witch Trials. The worst album yet. Yea this sucks.

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Thu Aug 11 2022
5

Mark Eeeee Smith at his scathing best. Floats in and out like a drunken tide. These are brilliant songs full of repetitive rhythms and melody. Ace!

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

This is exactly what I imagine a 1980s arts college in northern England would sound like. Amazing in its own way; it almost verges into hip-hop in places. RIP MES.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
5

This was my first introduction to The Fall back in '85. It was tentative steps from Billy Bragg to The Smiths and then THIS. Impossible to categorise, apart from saying This is The Fall. You know what you're getting, but then again you never really do. It's a frightening album in places, yet full of optimism in others. But mostly it's just bonkers. Spoilt Victorian Child is the obvious highlight. But the riff on Barmy is Eurovision worthy. Cruiser's Creek is classic Fall. A brilliant, brilliant album.

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Sun Nov 27 2022
5

Ok, I think I love The Fall. Where the fuck do I go next?

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Fri Feb 19 2021
4

Extremely idiosyncratic and hard to get into, but memorable in a good way.

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Fri Sep 03 2021
4

Seriously thought this was a Hot Topic "mallpunk" band based on the name. Like a band that would open for My Chemical Romance. Nope. This is old and good. But I can see this band having influenced a lot of those bands. This was a totally unexpected treat and I'll definitely listen again and explore their discography.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

The Fall really were the workhorses of post punk, weren't they? They just plowed along, releasing an amazing body of work over decades, while different styles and their flashier peers came and went. The musicianship here is fantastic, with standout performances across the board. The band maintains the looseness and off-the-cuff aspects of punk, but with an ear to moderation that reveals their method to be much more artful than you would expect. Their ability to judiciously use noise as if it's another instrument works great here. They also drift in and out of different genres and moods pretty seamlessly, which makes for an album that's really full of pleasant surprises, beginning to end. Fave Songs (CD and cassette version): Paint Work, Petty Thief Lout, My New House, Barmy, Bombast, I Am Damo Suzuki, Couldn't Get Ahead, Spoilt Victorian Child

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Wed Jun 28 2023
4

Great record this. Keep dipping in and out of The Fall but missed this previously as their back catalogue is huge. This sounds slightly more ‘friendly’/accessible than other records I’ve heard by them, but without losing that weird/edgy factor. Post punk at its best here. 4.5

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Fri Jun 18 2021
3

Post-punk poets? Post-poetry punks? Punk-poet posties? If you're gonna make approximately 5 squillion albums in your band's lifetime, looseness has to be some kind of categorical imperative. That's certainly true of this mob, in which case something as restricting as genre is for the birds. But poetry in music isn't just about diddling words. It's about tone and feel too. And seeing as looseness as categorical imperative borders on "all art is useless" and some kind of poet said that, we may have our answer after all: all of the above.

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Mon Jun 27 2022
3

I... actually didn't mind this? Mark E Smith was bearable? I even enjoyed parts of it?? What is the world coming to!?!

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Fri Mar 31 2023
3

Didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped. Knew all the highlights already (which are great), the rest sounded like, well, The Fall. As the man said: "always different, always the same". Maybe I'm just not in a Fall mood today.

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Thu Mar 21 2024
3

These guys subscribe to a simple two step process to writing songs. Step one: find a groove, even if it’s unremarkable. Step two: do not leave that groove. Sort of indifferent about this album overall and don’t think I’ll revisit it. Lots of tracks felt skippable, but there were definitely some I enjoyed. Middle of the road for me.

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Thu Mar 21 2024
3

I was always aware of The Fall, but somehow missed them. Which is even more surprising given they had 31 albums from the time they began thru 2017. Clearly operating as a true underground cult band. I found this album a bit scattered, most likely due to the caustic and erratic vocal stylings. But did enjoy its simple post-punk feel overall.

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Thu Mar 21 2024
3

I was not familiar at all with this artist. At first, a lot of the tracks seemed repetitive and had a similar formula. Vocals lacked clarity in places. On the second time through I found it more interesting and I liked a handful of tracks. Great bass line in Bombast. Overall I thought Side 2 was stronger than Side 1. Worth another dive at some point. 2.5/5 rounding up

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Sun May 23 2021
2

Bad Talking Heads? Not my thing.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
1

90% of time I can't tell what they're saying. The production value is among the worst I've ever heard. Additionally, and it might be intentional, but sometimes it seems like the band isn't playing the same song as the vocalist or the other musicians. Best song on the album was Rollin' Dany. Then I looked it up and it's a fucking cover. The original sounds so much better too. Best thing I can say about them is the album artwork is nice and the song titles are interesting. To their credit, the songs don't all sound the same.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
1

I see alternative-mid80s-UK and I'm ready and eager to enjoy it but jesus christ - this is like a terrible Velvet Underground (redundant phrase) tribute band that is depressing to listen to without any of the cool goth/emo aspects I wanted in my head. It's not even quality haunted moping like Joy Division. I just do not like this. Where are the actual songs? Each song follows a crap formula... a weak riff repeated for minutes that doesn't resolve nor progress - and no dynamics. "L.A." was almost the last straw - I liked the synthy riff and .... that was it. Like everything else, it went absolutely nowhere. Sum: Frustratingly awful faux-avant-garde lack-of-musical-talent-lazy-shitty album. And got actually *worse* the longer it went on - after 6 songs I was ready to just dismiss it; and by My New House I'm ready to hurt myself and others. One of the worst of >600 thus far, so congratulations. 1/10 1 star

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Mon Mar 25 2024
1

Yikes. This made me question if I even like music at all.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Love the funky bass. Guitars could have been Johnny Marr. Perfect mix of early madchester-sound and more depressing post-punk. Best: Barmby, Spoilt Victorian Child, Cruisers Creek och My New House.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

Production: 16/20 Songwriting: 15/20 Innovation: 17/20 Bangers: 20/20 Emotional response: 17/20 =85 Syooooooperbo

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

Never heard of this before but will listen again

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Thu Dec 23 2021
5

Haven't heard it before, love it.

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Thu Jun 23 2022
5

Something a bit different - I like it

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Thu Dec 29 2022
5

Naar mijn mening een essentieel album. Toen ik the Fall voor het eerst hoorde, dat was ook dit album, voelde het als een soort missende schakel tussen alle andere muziek die ik al luisterde. Zo veel bands, vooral in de UK scene, die deze sound meer dan 30 jaar nog steeds proberen te maken (ook succesvol!), maar dit is de kers op de taart. Het gaat van toegankelijke nummers als Barmy vlekkeloos over naar een nummer als I Am Damo Suzuki, een scherp eerbetoon aan Can en een van de meest unieke zangers die er ooit geweest.

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Mon Feb 27 2023
5

A bloody good record by The Fall. I've never heard Cologne pronounced like that before.

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Wed Mar 08 2023
5

My relationship with Mark E Smith has changed over the years. At the moment we're going through a good patch. This is refreshing post-Punk although quite late for '85. Good melodies with the usual Fall sneer.

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Wed May 03 2023
5

There have been other albums that have stretched the definition of music, but I feel like they failed and just made noise. This is the album that successfully starched music while still making music. This feels mind expanding while still just being punk. I loved it.

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Thu Jun 08 2023
5

Really a 4.5. Bears relistening.

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Tue Jun 20 2023
5

A lot of bands are an acquired taste, and can take a lot of listening before you really get them. And sometimes even needing to reacquaint yourself in between albums. With The Fall, I often find myself needing to require my taste in between songs. This Nation’s Saving Grace is an exception; it caught my attention when it came out when I was in college, and quickly became one of my favorite records of the year. Yes, it is wildly uneven in its tracks for such a long record. But the highs more than make up for it! And many decades later, I still dive in, joining Mark E Smith in the weirdness.

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Mon Jul 03 2023
5

endlessly creative post punk simply beautiful - 10/10

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Wed Aug 16 2023
5

Uncompromisingly original and interesting hooks galore, plus hordes of melodic moments that contrast with the spikiness and dark hues. One has always loved the quirky vocal style – repetitive and talky as it surely is – and the unforgettable voice. Plus, the hard, dark, and insistently edgy sound that still leaves room for hints of sweetness and melody. "Barmy" offers an unforgettable hook, and some likable chaos besides. "Spoilt Victorian Child" swings grittilly and intensely and (just a touch) ominously and offers even a hint of sweetness. "LA" is hella cool. So are "My New House" and "Paintwork." One likes their willingness to stick to their angles and ride these oddball hooks and often askew sounds and structures; that's what it means to be uncompromising, one assumes. The whole thing gets better as it goes along. That The Fall seems to have set up so many other interesting artists – Sonic Youth, Jonathan Richman, Yo La Tengo – secures their legacy. "Petty Thief" and "Cruiser's Creek" have much to recommend them, too, demonstrating how this just keeps getting better.

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Wed Oct 11 2023
5

There are many picks to choose from if you want to get into The Fall and the majority of them are sensible and worthy. But, for my money (and probably everybody else's), This Nation's Saving Grace is the best place to start. It has everything: bombast, disorder, intellect, accessibility, you name it. Mark E. Smith and his ever changing band of ramshackle ruffians, chief among them his then-wife Brix, create an atmosphere that brims with confidence and conviction that becomes career defining. While I'm not going to say that once you've heard this album, you've heard all Fall albums, This Nation's Saving Grace is without question their finest hour.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
5

This really grew on me as I listened to it. It's just a fantastic album. Kind of a missing link in English music, in a way.

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Mon Nov 27 2023
5

À strange universe I am enjoying.

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Sun Jan 28 2024
5

Clearly belongs to the top 5 of best Fall albums, includes LA and Paint Work and lost of other strong songs.

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Tue Jan 30 2024
5

Guitar hooks for days! One of my absolute favorite Fall albums. At least 5 songs on the album get stuck in my head every time I listen to it. I’m definitely a fan.

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Fri Mar 15 2024
5

I've loved post-punk since I was like 13 but it took me until my mid-twenties to "get" the Fall. They grow on you until you wish every band sounded like them.

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Tue Mar 19 2024
5

The Fall strikes again. It's hard to miss with dark, moody, British post-punk - especially with the bass mixed all the way up.

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Sun Mar 24 2024
5

it's got some real pop chops but it's kinda punk combined with avant/art rock lyrical musings that aren't really sung as they are declared. Some songs kind of remind me of Velvet Underground. So many catchy riffs... I really like it! Rollin' Dany is one song tha comes close to a conventional song, kind of sounds psychobilly. Other faves are Spoilt Victorian Child, L.A. Gut of the Quantifier, Paintwork, and I Am Damo Suzuki.

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Mon Apr 22 2024
5

The first time I listened to this, I was unsure as to how much I liked it--I knew that I did, but I was not sure if it was approaching a favorite status. The second time, I am positive that I love this. It reminds me of a UK Double Nickels on the Dime, which is an interesting statement for a post-punk band. The ending of this album is so, so good. Favorite track: Gut of the Quantifier

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Thu May 23 2024
5

Good beat, punk rock that's not too angry, I like it!

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Wed May 29 2024
5

Spoilt Victorian child spoilt Victorian child spoilt Victorian child. Just great discordant grumpy joy.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

This album was really good! I know that I've listened to it before, but This was definitely the first time unpaid attention, well worth it.

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Mon Mar 22 2021
4

i really liked some of it. some poo

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Bon album de punk/rock/grunge anglais, doux et bien monté

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

I really enjoyed this album, had some bangers

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Wed Jul 21 2021
4

A fun, interesting mix of genres. Kind of a post-punk vibe throughout, but sometimes it goes full Stooges-style punk. Other times we get Rockabilly. A real treat from start to stop.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
4

V good added most to the playlist. Favourite track Couldn't Get Ahead

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Sun Jun 06 2021
4

My 2nd favourite Fall album out of the 10 or so I've heard. It probably just sounds like an old man rambling which to be fair it is

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

love this genre, this was good but not one of the best of them

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

Post punk y Psycho rock se abrazan a ritmo motorik,se acercan a la melodía pop con Can en la cabeza como obsesión y espejo. Contundente y áspero. Muy bueno.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

Brilliant stuff - will be back for more

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

Never listened to The Fall before. I can see mclusky getting some inspiration from here.

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Mon May 17 2021
4

Great Post-punk band from UK. The music in general was very good and I enjoyed it.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
4

Often imitated, never duplicated; no one does sprechgesang as well as Mark E. Smith. He was a cantankerous lad and his attitude sure bled into his work--and to its benefit. Fundamental piece of post-punk right here. Standouts include: "Spoilt Victorian Child", "I Am Damo Suzuki", and "Gut Of The Quantifier". Brix's vocals adds a pop element that's missing from some of their more inaccessible tunes. Loving her voice and the harmonica on "Couldn't Get Ahead" and that pop groove on "paintwork" is hella infectious. That said, it's a long album and it takes a couple songs to ramp up speed at the beginning. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4.5 if I could)

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Wed Aug 11 2021
4

a touch freeform for my taste but obviously a pillar of punk and other inspiration

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Fri Aug 13 2021
4

The one shifted around a lot while listening to it but I ended up on a 4. It got unusual enough while still staying within the realm of dang good.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

J’ai bine aime, u; bon vibe et une belle struture. Punk rock a son mielleur. 4.10

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Sun Oct 17 2021
4

The Fall is a great band and this is another one of their great albums

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Wed Nov 10 2021
4

Mark E. Smith's singing is garbled, the instruments sound out of tune and it sounds like it was recorded in a toilet block, with a cheap cassette player. Yet it is a brilliant, unique and exciting album that has served as an inspiration for so many acts that followed (yes I am looking at you Pavement). I don't listen to the Fall nearly enough

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

Definitely a keeper, I have to let this one soak in for a bit before I'm ready for the final rating

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Wed Jan 12 2022
4

Good solid punk, have been exposed to a bit of the Mark E Smith lore via Adam Buxton so was kind of familiar with the context.

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Sun Jan 30 2022
4

The first time listening to the fall. And wow these are the albums we love on this list, not a huge post punk fan so the vocal style does take a bit of getting used to, but feel this is just one of those albums you can keep coming back to and getting so much more from each time. Interesting that this music is the in thing for so many new bands in the U.K. at the moment, (As seen this week with Yard Act debut album getting no2 in the charts) the Fall clearly a huge influence for all these bands.

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Mon Feb 14 2022
4

Surprisingly good. Had heard of this band, but this was a first time hearing them. I like.

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Sun Feb 20 2022
4

Manchester stvarno je glazbeni capital of the world.

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Sun Feb 20 2022
4

Vjerujem da nije baš lako njih slušati i da ti bude ono nešta wow, ali meni imaju. Mark E. Smith je gospon (počivaj u miru), koji nije pjevao, već je non stopno pričao kroz svaku pjesmu, ali na svoj način da ne ispadne skroz monotono jer u kombinaciji njegove priče koje znaju biti satiričine, realne, čudne i imati repetecije s ciljem naglašavanja nekih dijelova (gdje se meni čini da taj repetativni dio ne mora predstavljati neke veoma važne riječi) ide i ritmični, jači i ponekad dost' glasni instrumentali što oboja ono što žele opisati. Osjeti se dosta utjecaja na današnji post-punk - hladni zvukovi gitare i basa, glasovi - taj način izvođenja pjesama koje me podsjećaju upravo na našeg Markića i samim time vjerujem da su kao grupa napravili jako jako veliki posao u ostavljanju utjecaja u glazbi. Gle, Sonic Youthu su bili jedni od utjecaja, šta imam više za reć. Pjesme sa ovog albuma koje bih izdvojio su: Barmy, Spoilt Victorian Child, L.A., My New House, Couldn't Get Ahead (iako nije na original izdanju, nego na kazetnom) i Paintwork. Mark je volio derat po pivu, pa eto Mark, danas ću popit jedno pivo u tvoje ime. Cheers.

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Thu Feb 24 2022
4

I should really listen to more post punk

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Thu Feb 24 2022
4

Very cool! certainly deserving of more listens. I look forward to getting to know it better. Favorite Tracks: Vixen, Barmy

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Thu Feb 24 2022
4

Really enjoyed this one, I'm a sucker for this genre and this era so I knew pretty quickly I was doing to like it.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
4

Echt wel goeie rock muziek. Vrij experimenteel met clash achtige (stem) en interessante basslijnen die voor wiegende bewegingen zorgen.

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