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4.9 out of 5 stars
15
4.9 out of 5 stars
Slates
Format: Audio CD|Change

on 17 November 2004
Originally released in 1981 on 10-inch vinyl and then notoriously unavailable for over ten years until a somewhat sloppy re-release in 1992, this mini album has continuously been the victim of its format and the greatness of its successor 'Hex Enduction Hour'. This is, however, grave injustice to what is one of the very best Fall albums that they ever received. Surpassed in complexity and craftmanship only by 'Hex' and unsurpassed in sheer energy and gall by no other Fall album, this is not just one of their very best, but it stands out among the quintessential albums of the early 1980s.
For a mere 6-track mini album, the songs are remarkably varied, from the slow 'Older Lover' to the killer attack of 'Prole Art Threat' to the hypnotic, driving riff of 'Slates, Slags Etc', all delivered with an intensity the band has rarely ever achieved since (except perhaps in recent live performances).
This newly remastered 2004 re-release presents the album for the first time in an appropriate context: in addition to the six original tracks there are seven bonus tracks - their 1981 Peel Session, the 'Lie Dream/Fantastic Life' single and a studio outtake - bringing this to a 50-minute document of the band driving towards their zenith.
This is absolutely essential and should be in everybody's record collection, regardless of whether you are a Fall fan or not.
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on 6 March 2017
The best moment in the Fall's career has been ruined on this shoddy, harsh sounding vinyl reissue. It's not often I advise picking the CD version instead of the vinyl but over this terrible pressing I do (although the sleeve is definitely worth the money)
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on 15 March 2017
The Fall at their brilliant best, before a major slump with - deep breath - 'Hex Enduction', and particularly 'Room to Live', before they got going again.
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on 8 March 2007
Fall fans tend to differ from fans of other, lesser groups, in that they all tend to become a bit obsessed. I have six of their records (the most I have by any artist, matched only by Miles Davis) and I intend to go to Fopp today and buy Dragnet for a fiver. It isn't easy to say which of The Fall's records are the best, because they are all brilliant and they are all quite different. For me the best albums i've heard are probably Grotesque, which is the most left-field, the Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, which is the first I bought back in 2000 and is the most catchy and headbanging, and Hex Induction Hour, which is the most classicly Fallian. Perverted by Language is a bit murky and meandering and This Nations Saving Grace is a bit unsuccesfully poppy for me. But I think their greatest moment is the concentrated brilliance of Slates. Unlike their longer efforts, every song on this ep is a moment of shear genius, without a single dud song. It is the one I listen too most, and every time I start listening to it I have to turn it up and wait untill it's finished before I can do anything else. Every time I hear the song Slates it sends shivers up my spine. It is one of favourite songs of all time, although you would have a hard time convincing any Fall novices of it's brilliance. Incidentally, I think that Mark E Smith is one of the best British writers of our time in any medium. He runs rings around most contemporary poets or novelists with the originality and imagination of his writing.
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on 8 August 2010
The Slates EP is one of my all-timefavourite Fall recordings, probably second only to Perverted By Language. Explaining to non-believers why the wrongness of The Fall is so right is generally a pretty futile task, so I shan't bother. One day, if you're lucky, you might get it. To Fall-heads this is an easy sell. MES is in top lyrical form on stone cold classics such as Fit and Working Again, Leave the Capitol, Older Lover and Middle Mass (which is supposed to be, rather unflatteringly, about Marc Riley). Killer riffs combine with the band's shambling, off kilter approach in unmistakeable fashion. There's a suppleness and clarity to the band's sound that makes them seem capable of anything on this record, and the slightly better production vlues over earlier efforts does pay off. Go on buy it, you know you want to.
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on 20 January 2012
As someone who has enjoyed The fall since their very first single "Bingo masters break out" the original album is one that passed me by.Not surprising really given it was apparently unavailable for so long.Have just got it as the expanded version,so additionally to the original album of 6 songs there are 4 John Peel session tracks 31-3-81 and an obscure 7" and a bizarre outake.The first six songs are probably some of their most creative and enjoyable with mark e Smith demonstrating a wide range of vocal styles rather than his current more one dimensional style.The genius of this band as always is that they never have and still don't sound like anyone else.Truly great stuff-if you like them ,this collection is a must have.
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on 28 November 2010
I would quite sneakily say this is their best effort, however it would be careless to dismiss longer albums they have done. Each song is an absolute gem and it contains the excellent 'Prole Art Threat' which is a brilliant post punk gem. Each song is fantastic from the start with 'Middle Mass' to the anthemic 'Leave The Capitol'. There is not a single dud song on this mini album and it remains one of my favourites. PINK PRESS THREAT da da da da da.
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on 18 April 2012
These recordings from the original Slates EP, and the period immediately thereafter are truly inspired. The bewitching intensity of their sonic thrust owes much to the early recordings of their protopunk forefathers CAN. Based around a strong percussive framework, blistering bass, mesmeric guitars along with Smiths poetic ramblings the listener is left intoxicated and gasping for more, and oh yes more was to come..........
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on 10 October 2016
A must for all Fall fans this is from the pre-brix time and consists of the classic early line up. The group had well and truly found there sound here and each track is consistently brilliant. I prefer the vinyl format and its fantastic to have this 10 inch vinyl reproduction otherwise means paying very expensive prices for the original. Hope hex induction hour gets reproduced on vinyl .
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on 24 March 2005
...of THE FALL can re-visit the band's first truly great 'album' ( although opinion still rages as to whether the original 10" vinyl of 6 classic tracks actually represents an LP or not - possibly M.E.S.' oblique attack all along marketing geeks?!).
These 6 tracks represent Smith extending his vocal range, his angle of attack on the pretension and unease at the heart of the then English societal classes (MIDDLE MASS may even be another oblique reference to George Eliot's Middlemarch or am i just nuts?).
Whatever, with the usual prescience (PINK PROLE THEAT is a rollercoaster little number about a spy "new prole art threat the subject/safehouse, safehouse tone...". The music by now was developing at a truly staggering rate, with tracks like the fantastic LEAVE THE CAPITOL and the 6min+ title track epic ("This is the definitive rant! Slates drive me bats, therefore I say hey Slates give us a break!") featuring M.E.S. memorably declaiming his own unique manifesto and taking on all-comers as usual. As my only fellow reviewer so far has so accurately noted, this collection is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL and you must have it in your collection...now!
The wonderful and frightening world of THE FALL was beginning to take shape, with HEX ENDUCTION HOUR, the collective's first undisputed masterpiece. just over the horizon. These excellent Castle CD re-issues, with extra Peel Session versions of contemporaneous material, here include the classic AA single LIE DREAM OF A CASINO SOUL/FANTASTIC LIFE (an early contender for the BILL IS DEAD throne of self-deprecatory autobiography) are allowing a new generation of FALL fans to emerge and prompting older followers to dig out M.E.S.' inpenetrable sleeves and lyrics and ponder once again as to their fanatstic meaning...
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