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This Nations Saving Grace [Original recording reissued, Extra tracks]

The Fall Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 9.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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This Nations Saving Grace + The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall + Bend Sinister
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Extra tracks
  • Label: Beggars Banquet
  • ASIN: B00000189I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,379 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mansion
2. Bombast
3. Barmy
4. What You Need
5. Spoilt Victorian Child
6. LA
7. Gut Of The Quantifier
8. My New House
9. Paintwork
10. I Am Damo Suzuki
11. To Nkroachment/Yarbles

Product Description

Following the direction taken in the previous year's The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall, this 1985 release saw the band's at their most coherent and approachable: guitarist Brix's influence on her husband--lead vocalist Mark E. Smith--and on the band reaching its apogee. The tunes and riffs show The Fall working tightly and powerfully as a unit, not just as backing for Smith's admittedly brilliant lyrics--the fact that the record opens with an instrumental is testament to the sonic confidence and new-found democracy in the group. Great songs, too--the springy punchiness of "Bombast" and "Spoilt Victorian Child", the witty acoustic guitar framed experimentation of "Paint Work", and, best of all, "I Am Damo Suzuki", a krautrock-inspired tribute to German band Can's famous lead vocalist. Another wonderful Fall album--and a good introduction for neophytes. --Burhan Tufail

BBC Review

Anyone caught fondling the pillar-box format of this deluxe triple-CD reissue who was also there at the dawn of punk will raise a smile. 1977's halcyon digest of grubby 7" singles, Xeroxed fanzines and posters, scuzzy venues with scuzzier sound systems; The Fall were part of the thorny furniture of those times. Admittedly, This Nation's Saving Grace – the band's ninth – dates from 1985, when punk survivors such as The Fall could no longer be labelled "shambling" (the clubs were still scuzzy though), but still. I bet Mark E. Smith never envisaged being packaged like a "venerated musical institution," as the beautiful 40 page booklet puts it, in sturdy A-grade cardboard.

Rest assured, no re-mastering can alter the music's blunt thrust or Smith's lyrical swords. The saving grace is that the album still sounds dense, punchy, lean and surly. Paintwork, for example, still sounds like it's drenched in fog, though (ex) wife Brix Smith's cooing backing vocals peek through with more clarity than before. I Am Damo Suzuki is named after Can's great singer but it sounds much more like the raucous dread and clatter of Pere Ubu. In fact, there's an Ubu-style industrial feel to many of the tracks; everything meshes, cog-like  (Pavement were definitely listening) and the sound is a steely monochrome with psych-rock streaks of gleaming mercury; but it’s also graceful and complex, like intricate ironwork. Does this make This Nation's Saving Grace their most quintessentially Mancunian record?

Maybe it was happenstance, because of the ever-changing Fall line-up. Bassist Steve Hanley was back from extended paternity leave but his replacement Simon Rogers moved over to keyboards and guitar, adding support to guitarist Brix's own sprightly slashes. Those could even be echoes of Johnny Marr on Spoilt Victorian Child and My New House while her (American) influence is also blatantly felt on L.A.'s virtual electro-goth groove. To Nkroachment: Yarbles even sounds melancholic - not at Morrissey's level, but still. Not that Smith has room for sentiment. "Feel the wrath of my Bombast!" he fires, tongue in cheek but also fist in hand.

Another saving grace is that the new CD mirrors the original vinyl. The bonus tracks of the 1988 CD version are now compiled on disc three's singles and Peel sessions (Rollin' Dany's garage-billy and the single Cruiser's Creek are especially great). The 17-track second disc is rough mixes and out-takes. This Nation's Saving Grace isn't just one of The Fall's all-time great; it's a veritable Fall-gasm. Save John Peel a copy, would you?

--Martin Aston

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mighty 5 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
This Nation's Saving Grace finds The Fall in typical swagger. Bombast, the first track proper following an instrumental opener, is delivered with a force that renders its performance less a statement of intent than a full-blown manifesto. But beyond frontman Mark E Smith's trademark truculence and his band's by then long-established mantra of repetition (repetition repetition), the record shows flourishes that point beyond the group's artfully studied minimalism. Recent addition and Smith spouse Brix lends synth sheen to the slick LA, giving the lie to her husband's "if you can't play it like a garage band, f- it" ethos, and bonus track Cruisers Creek, a high point of the reissued album, manages to configure country rock and garage punk as long-lost brothers reunited. The clear Krautrock influence, manifest since Two Steps Back on their '79 debut, is explicitly heralded in the Can tribute I Am Damo Suzuki - a standout track which can be paid no higher tribute than that it would fit quite comfortably on the setlist of either group.

For those new to The Fall, This Nation's Saving Grace is an ideal place to start, edging out the more accessible The Wonderful and Frightening World Of with a stronger set of songs, by turns both scathing and playful - and more focussed and consistent than many of their many records. If you don't like this album, then you don't like The Fall - here Smith and the band applied the full range of their wit, passion, invention and conviction.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
No one matches the Fall. Over almost twenty-five years, they have continued to make the kind of music that genuinely--GENUINELY--pushes the boundaries of music. This album showcases The Fall in a mixture of fierce avantgardism and melodic mellowness. There are clashing post-punk guitars through 'Spoilt Victorian Child' colliding with the Can-influenced, drum-heavy, and utterly gorgeous 'I Am Damo Suzuki'. The quiet and ruminative 'Paintwork' is disrupted by recording ineptitude and sounds all the more haunting more it. Cruiser's Creek is uplifting (though always sinister, they are always sinister) while L.A. has a horrified blissed-out drug-casualty feel as Brix Smith's voice gets progressively lost in the walls of juddering guitars. 'Bombast' begins with a wonderful piece of Mark E Smith braggadoccio ('All those who might entitle themselves...') and 'Couldn't Get Ahead' has an awesome sense of drama and scale, alongside a mysterious set of lyrics. This band are the only band in Britain who are continuing to explore artistically and their journey is worth following. This was one of their finest stopping points.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To all those who entitle themselves 13 Feb 2009
Format:Audio CD
The Fall's finest hour. One darkly comic garage rockabilly gem after another, with some fine experimental pop in between (re: LA, I Am Damo Suzuki). Certainly one of the greatest albums ever made.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Early/mid 80's Fall/Smith lyrical brilliance - unquestionable. Reviewers need to reflect in said brilliance by quoting lyrics in reviews/titles - not so.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This is one of three Fall albums I purchased last year, the others being Hex Enduction Hour and The Wonderful Frightening World Of... I was already aware of The Fall's reputation as a difficult band before I made the purchase, having previously checked-out other review sites on the net to see which albums would be the most worthwhile purchase for someone not entirely familiar with the kind of music (...or should that be, kinds of music, given The Fall's seeming insistence to smash apart every genre of music they come across?) that the band create.
This album came from what is commonly referred to as The Fall's "pop-period", particularly because they managed to amass a few minor chat hits through a more polished production (by Fall standards at least) and the involvement of Fall-leader Mark E. Smith's then-wife Brix. Brix brings along a more American pop/rock element, involving sweet guitar hooks and backing vocals, though they're combined to that ramshackle Fall style which is still vaguely familiar from the rigid and uncompromisingly difficult classic, Hex Enduction Hour. This album even kicks off with a Brix-solo track... although admittedly, it is a one-minute twenty-one second instrumental, titled Mansion. The album proper opens with Hanley/Smith penned composition Bombast (featuring that classic opening line "feel the wrath of my... bombast" before the song goes on to establish a sort of sound for the rest of the album.
The sound continues on the next song, Barmy, which is one of my favourites from this album (along with other highpoints like Vixen, My New House, Paint Work and one of the three bonus tracks, Cruiser's Creek), with Brix and Scanlon continuing the great guitar sound of the first two songs into something almost approaching mainstream rock...
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