Yes, it's tough to play favorites with the Fall catalogue, as each release has something spectacular and unique hidden within its grooves unlike any of their others. SLATES, though, probably has more jaw-dropping and gut-twisting blasts and cool-outs than some bands' whole careers, let alone other Fall records - all in 23 minutes plus change. The track "slates slags etc" on its own has enough momentum to propel an entire marathon; for 6 and a half minutes it just takes over the room, twisting about anarchically, the snare fills smacking you hard in the gums. "an older lover etc" is just this simmering low-key gloom device to make your skin itch on the inside - it hisses with these sinister, spiny guitars and vibrates with inertia from the roiling, gooey bass. top notch stuff, and defiantly catchy. Smith is just the icing on the cake, all art-school falsetto scat and divebombing snarls, with some truly warped imagery ("french fries spread on her face(?)") to boot. I don't know what this says about me but I'll NEVER tire of this track. In fact i doubt i'd tire of this disc at all, it's amazing, focused, and energetic - words descriptive of the fall but infrequently applicable to a full record of theirs. As a bonus you get A PART OF AMERICA THEREIN, 1981, a live document that isn't as grating as many say - you get used to the recording quality after three minutes, and sometimes the band really reaches the mandatory listening level i've accorded SLATES (this live version of "totally wired" beats the yolk outta the studio version hands down imho - though no other live track here can claim superiority over a studio version). Naturally, SLATES stands as a completely essential part of the UK post-punk experience - one of its crown jewels in fact.