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The War Against Intelligence - The Fontana Years

The Fall Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 11.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Oct 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000083LQ6
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,939 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Telephone Thing
2. The War Against Intelligence
3. Free Range
4. The Littlest Rebel
5. High Tension Line
6. Popcorn Double Feature
7. The Book of Lies
8. Hilary
9. Shiftwork
10. Blood Outta Stone
11. Immortality
12. Ed's Babe
13. Gentleman's Agreement
14. Bill is Dead
15. Time Enough at Last
16. You Haven't Found it Yet
17. The Mixer
18. White Lightning

Product Description

BBC Review

A man works night shifts while his wife works regular hours. They never see each other so their marriage breaks down. A simple, sad tale. And not the sort of thing you'd expect to hear from the larynx of Mark E Smith, leader of the Fall. Smith has often been (mis)represented as a ranting anger monger. But this new compilation shows he can be tender as well as abrasive.

The Fall racks in record shops are clogged with shoddy compilations. In their quarter century of existence they've released a minimum of an album a year. They change labels more often than most bands change their underwear. This offers a field day for unscrupulous record companies to chop it all up and keep repackaging it.

But this one is better than most. It has excellent art work and good, detailed sleeve notes. And the period surveyed (1990 - 1992, three albums for Fontana records), is one of the group's most interesting.

Smith's ex wife Brix had just left the band. They moved in a conventional, accessible direction: orthodox pop rock with an unorthodox sensibility. There are verses and choruses, and the songs are tightly edited, and rarely ramble. "High Tension Line" and "Hilary" have great hooks, funny lyrics and a vaguely sixties feel. There's quiet, reflective material like the touching "Bill Is Dead", "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Shiftwork" and pretty electronica ("The Mixer"). The Fall as easy listening? Well, perhaps meditative listening.

And there are two of the Fall's greatest. "Free Range" is a fractured portrait of war and anarchy; Nostradamus proclaiming over a great garage band riff. "Blood Outta Stone" is a dark, polished gem: a bleak, sad pop song, immaculately played, produced and sung.

There are always quibbles: no "Edinburgh Man"? No "Arms Control Poseur"? No "Life Just Bounces"? Why include the dull "Littlest Rebel" and "Immortality"?

Here, Smith showed signs, perhaps misleading signs, of growing old gracefully. If you can't get "Extricate", the best album from these years, this will do. --Nick Reynolds

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another day, another Fall compilation.... 18 Dec 2003
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Audio CD
Well, this period has been touched on with the previous compilations Listening In & A World Bewitched , but at this budget-price this is extremely good value. Every Fall album I listen to makes me say things like "Best Fall album" and "Best era of The Fall"- but the era documented here 90-92 was one of their strongest. As every compilation, you always moan that such and such isn't on there & I won't change that here- why pick cover version Popcorn Double Feature or The Littlest Rebel over say I'm Frank or Extricate? Oh well...as a primer and introduction to tracks from Extricate (1990), Shiftwork (1991), & Code Selfish (1992) this is fairly wonderful (& frightning).
The compilation starts with Coldcut-collaboration Telephone Thing, which is a great place to start & one of the key Fall-singles alongside such tracks as Kicker Conspiracy, Hit the North, & Living Too Late. A wonderful electronic-funk with MES hailing about "Gretchen Franklin"- it could be seen as the next step on from 1982's The Man Whose Head Expanded and looking towards the great D.O.S.E./MES single Plug Myself In. The return of Martin Bramah, who had rejoined after forming The Blue Orchids, & hadn't been in The Fall since classic debut Live at the Witch Trials,& departure of Brix was notable. Though the classic Hanley-Scanlon-MES-Wolstencroft line-up remained going, with Bramah leaving around Shiftwork (which he contributed to) as did Marcia Schoefield (who was replaced by Dave Bush, later to join Elastica).
Anyway, who can quibble with such joys as Free Range (part of MES's Balkans fixation- see Zagreb), The Book of Lies, the Kundera-referencing Immortality (see also The Joke), Shiftwork, Gentlemen's Agreement, You Haven't Found It Yet, Time Enough at Last & the charming Bill is Dead.
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Format:Audio CD
Of course, today, Mark E Smith rarely plays live any of the fantastic tracks on this compilation. However it was such an impressive introduction to The Fall sound (or one particular era thereof) that I immediately put in an order for "Heads Roll" and sought out some tickets to their gig in Croydon in March 2006. Well, I went to the gig on Sunday (the worst of the 4 nights apparently as they played only for 40 mins) and I can honestly say that I now understand why The Fall have such a hard core of devoted followers. Wish I'd listened to them 10, or 20, or (almost) 30 years ago (a bit fanciful as I would have been 10 years old!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE FALL are still standing tall 23 Oct 2010
By Puss
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have already owned this album before, so it must mean something when I repurchase it. If there is one album I would recommend to anyone by The Fall who is checking them out for the first time, it would definitely be this without hesitation. Funnily enough, I have only ever heard one other album in full by them, but consider the wisdom of how first impressions last with a compilation like The War Against Intelligence...and you will appreciate why I am so quick to say to those who have never heard The Fall/this album that you won't be disappointed by it. It weaves kettle drum effects with melodious folky jigs and rock'n'roll so effectively that you will wonder why music like this is not more commercial or popular with the masses. It is just waiting for discovery by the unenlightened. Those just beginning to consider what The Fall are like, please start here...The War Against Intelligence: The Fontana Years were quite possibly their best statement musically, but then again I have only listened to two albums of theirs so far.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Fall period-ah! 19 Nov 2003
Format:Audio CD
This Cd is a neat summation of what is arguably the best era in The Fall's 25 year career. Finally the spiky, curmudgeonly Mark E. Smith had made it to a major label and a certain amount of commercial success to go hand in hand with the critical success he had always recieved.
My personal favourite Fall LPs (Shiftwork ant the faultless Extricate) are both represented heavily here.
From the Coldcut collaboration 'Telephone Thing' to the touching 'Bill is dead', the exuberence of 'White lightning' (a Big Bopper cover!) to thier last (and only 3rd) top 40 hit 'Free Range' (no it's not about eggs, it's about the changing face of Europe in the early 90s!) you really can't go wrong with this compilation.
And at mid-price you really don't have any excuse!
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