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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mighty, 5 April 2008
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great albums by Britain's greatest Band, 2 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (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
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A curious mixture of dissonant sounds and disparate ideas., 6 July 2005
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (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... I say almost, because any attempt at a sustained melody is put to rest throughout the song, as Smith brings in a burst of feedback, a sprinkling of drum and bass and a taste of tuneless violin. At five and a half-minutes it certainly keeps our attention... surging off into strange and dissonant territory, before pulling back to that lovely original guitar melody.
The next three songs are all more pop-oriented than the songs found on Hex, with Spoilt Victorian Child continuing one of Smith's favourite lyrical obsessions with allusions to the class struggle, whilst L.A. and the abovementioned Vixen both draw heavily on the American pop sensibilities of Brix, who adds the rather sweet backing vocals that jar beautifully with that infamous Mark E. Smith whine. Gut of the Quantifier is another highlight, a full band contribution that leads perfectly into My New House, which I suppose could be categorised loosely as rockabilly (as could a few of the songs here), with Smith wailing that catchy refrain "have you seen my house... my new house... have you seen my house... have you SEEN my new house...?" over the top of it.
Paint Work is an infuriating masterpiece... another song like Barmy which could have quite easily been a gorgeous pop song in the hands of someone else, but here gets turned into a near seven-minute ramble with different time-sequences, key-changes and a purposely lo-fi approach to the recording, curtsey of producer John Leckie (The Strange Idols Pattern, Dukes of the Stratosphere, The Stone Roses, The Bends, etc). The guitar melody here is lovely, with Smith intoning different variations of the phrase "hey Mark you're spoiling all the paint work" over the top of it, before the song gets cut short by a recording error, a burst of instrumental distortion, a blast of studio chatter... then it picks up again as if nothing had happened (this continues until the end to create a song that is as hypnotic as it is gleefully annoying).
The most difficult track on the album is the six-minute trek into the realms of experimental Kraut-rock, with the Can-referencing, I am Damo Suzuki. Once again, Smith repeats the title over and over again... though this time, the musical bed of jangling rockabilly guitars and sweet percussion is replaced by jagged drums, distorted (almost screaming) guitars and funky bass. It's one of those songs that may take a few listens to fully sink in (although to be fair, I found that the album as a whole took a few listens to fully sink in) but after a while, the trance-like rhythm manages to take a hold, and I often find myself walking around the house shouting "I am... Damo Suzuki"!!
The album closes with the great Petty (Thief) Lout and two bonus-tracks, the unmistakably rockabilly Rollin' Danny and the great pop-influenced Cruiser's Creek. This Nation's Saving Grace is a great, if perhaps difficult album. Less abrasive than Hex Enduction Hour, though probably a little more memorable than the equally great Wonderful Frightening World (I can't speak for their other albums, given that they have about 5000 CD's available for purchase, and I'm on a tight budget), I would, regardless, recommend this as a good place to start for anyone interested in discovering this particular period of The Fall.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perverted by the grotesque and frightening world of this nation's hex slags etc., 28 Oct. 2010
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best C.D. by err 'The Fall' yeah, 15 May 2010
By 
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (Audio CD)
Can't beat this recording as 'The Fall' have released so many albums..so go for this 1985 release..and err hey come on!!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all.........., 25 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (Audio CD)
This is probably the best album The Fall has done (not bad considering they've made over 30!) After Brix Smith joined in 1983 it took some time for the band to settle into a groove, but here there's a whole range of great tunes. Check out "Cruiser's Creek" (former Smash Hits single of the week, believe it or not) or "Spoilt Victorian Child" for top examples. The album's a bit schizophrenic at times, with songs like "Bombast" and "Gut of the Quantifier" showcasing Mark E Smith's bullsh1t detector, side by side with playful stuff like "My New House" (about, yup, his new house) and "Paintwork". This last song is extraordinary; it was recorded, by accident, by Smith singing over a tape of the song playing over a half-broken tape recorder, leaving the final version a mellow haze of noise. You can also hear Smith's influences coming through, such as on "I Am Damo Suzuki" - named after the Can singer.
Don't be afraid of the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall. Buy this album - you won't regret it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why doesnt anyone I know listen to this!, 8 Jan. 2003
By 
Mr. S. N. Barton "Dirkfrangipan" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (Audio CD)
Godly! Mark e Smith shows the world how music should be written He sends us lyrics that are, unfortunately, as apt now as they were in the eighties. An angry death rattle of guitars and the fantastically miserable singing of Mark e smith. Make the fall one of the best and certainly one of the most important bands ever, and this is one of their best records! Hurrah. Hearing it now just shows up the utter dross that calls itself music that we hear in the charts.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To nkroachment: Yarbles!, 11 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: This Nations Saving Grace (Audio CD)
A raucous, rough and ready riot of garage rock from start to finish, 'This Nation' veers between the brash, unfinished amateurism of 'Bombast' and 'Spoilt Victorian child' to the highly produced and polished sound of 'LA' and 'Petty (thief) lout'. This is without doubt The Fall's finest sixty minutes, with Mark E Smith's vivid, twisted take on the everyday in overdrive (cf 'Couldn't get ahead's strange rant about queuing up for an aeroplane toilet; one of the few tracks with easily discernible lyrics).
Every song here is up to scratch, with none of the sloppy filler tracks of later albums. This nation's saving grace? Well, with this album The Fall come damn close.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There's always a love / hate relationship with the fall, 4 Jan. 2015
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For me,,,a seminal album. I saw m.e.s perform this at the hacienda. There's always a love / hate relationship with the fall,,, but this was a great album.
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This Nations Saving Grace
This Nations Saving Grace by The Fall (Audio CD - 2001)
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