The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace

NME.COM feature on The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace album including album review, artwork, tracks, listen now, tour dates, discography and more.

Release date: 12 August 1997

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The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace: Wikipedia Album Entry

This Nation's Saving Grace is the seventh (not counting live releases) LP from The Fall, originally released in September of 1985 on Beggars Banquet. Some of the best-liked material from this band comes from roughly the same era as this album's release ('84-'89) as they were with the Beggars label; some say this is the best record of that period.

You can't get by the old John Peel adage about this group: always the same, always different. This Nation... it's not different from any other Fall record in particular, but the production values for the band have been steadily rising from their late '70s records without a doubt. They arrive on this recording with a taut, funky sound somewhat reminiscent of Gang of Four on Entertainment! from a few years before. Mark E. Smith's vocals are what they are, as any fan of the group knows. He's just inimitable and hilarious, but can occasionally have moments of great insight peek through. Some particular lyrical highlights on this album: the "just call me the first" screamed in the middle of the classic "Barmy" is probably a reasonable request considering Smith's influence on music; a classic play on words with "entrance (like to a building) entranced (like to induce a trance)" on "Gut of the Quantifier"; a list of daily necessities and ironic observations on "What You Need"; "got nice pink bubbles in my mouth from what I've taken" in "Cruiser's Creek." Read by themselves these lyrics might not be so spectacular, so you just have to listen to this band to get it... It's all about Smith's delivery in his strange northern English accent.

Stylistically, there are nods to a lot of genres throughout - rockabilly "Rollin' Dany" is a great allusion to the rollicking bluesy rock sound, done with just enough vitriolic deadpan to make it a great Fall song.. Mostly there are punky, funky rockers, but there are some odd, slower songs like "To Nkroachment: Yarbles" that cut the pacing nicely.

From start to finish, there's grooves to be grooved, lyrics to shout or laugh with, and memorable tunes. This album could serve as a great primer for the neophytes to this band because it really is an incredible record, but it's essential for anyone who professes to love the group.

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