The Fall / Mark E Smith

I’d like to be recommended some good stuff by The Fall.
Anybody have any recommendations?

I’d recommend starting with this trio of albums: Live at the Witch Trials, This Nation’s Saving Grace and Hex Enduction Hour. Also worth a look at their best of/singles compilation 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong which by no means definitive is a good taster for the rest of their discography. They’re quite the Marmite band but by the time you’ve done these four I’d wager you’ll be pretty sure overall whether you love or hate them.

The Fallen, the Dave Simpson book where he tracks down the many ex members, is worth a read, but it has nothing on this. The reviews on the cover say it better than I ever could.



For all of the preconceptions they cover an awful lot of ground so 50,000 Fall fans is a really great place to start to work out which version you like best then can dig deeper on that era.


Thanks. I’m looking forward to delving into them over the next few days. I really like the stuff I have heard.

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Fall Heads Roll is great for the 00s Fall-era. He did go on to sack the entire band though, as he describes in great length in Renegade

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As a relative newcomer to The Fall I found these really hooked me in:
Grotesque (After the Gramme)
Hex Enduction Hour
This Nation’s Saving Grace

Have probably picked up maybe 10 or so albums now and have enjoyed them all to some extent. They’re definitely a singular group, but I think if you’ve heard some of their stuff and like it, then it’s worth a deep dive.


This Nation’s Saving Grace was my proper intro to them and a great place to start. I had tried with them before and been put off by the fact that they seemed to be a tuneless mess. When I put on TNSG for the first time I was surprised by how tight and melodic it was and was hooked immediately.

the other mid 80s stuff like Bend Sinister and The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall occupies similar ground. Hex Enduction Hour is a masterpiece but it took hearing their more accessible side first for it to make any sense. Perverted by Language is also massively underrated - less messy than Hex but takes the krautrock influence and the long repetitive song structures to their conclusion. it might well be my favourite.

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the Slates EP is also a great little snapshot of their early 80s sound in 20 something minutes


strong album but it’s predecessor The Real New Fall LP/Country on the Click is even better


That’s the one with Sparta FC on isn’t it? Agree it’s a great album

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Big fan of The Light User Syndrome

This Nation’s Saving Grace was my in route to The Fall. Grotesque and Peverted By Language are my favourites.

For my money, they have one of the strongest discographies ever and you can’t really go wrong with any of it.


Recommendations for the first 20 years of the band are pretty well covered already. From the last 20 years i think the best three albums are:

The Marshall Suite (1999)
The Real New Fall Lp (2003)
Your future our clutter (2010)

Fall Heads roll has been mentioned but I don’t think it is up with the quality of those three. But it does contain possibly my favourite fall song:

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For a complete Fall virgin the 50,000 Fall Fans compilation is probably the best place to start. There are 100s of Fall compilations but that is definitely the best one.

If you wanted to start with an album This Nation’s Saving Grace would probably be the one I suggest. It’s a great record and more immediately accessible than some of the others (partly due to the influence of Brix’s pop instincts during this period).

Hex Enduction Hour is the greatest Fall album in my view and a stunning piece of work from start to finish - I would definitely go there next.

Slates is almost of good, only losing out because it’s only a mini album. The CD reissue padded out with the brilliant singles from around that period is an excellent buy.

There are too many other great albums to list. Grotesque and Perverted by Language would probably be my next two choices but you could make a good case for some of the later records (someone else can do that).


In my view too. This and Perverted By Language are my favourites, but anything from the 80-83 period is pure gold. Loads of other great stuff throughout their discography, but just talking about 80-83 Fall makes me go a bit glassy eyed.

Would never usually recommend a boxset to someone asking for an introduction, but this is amazing:

Quick introductory course-

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i’d also throw in The Unutterable (2000) and Imperial Wax Solvent (2008)

probably Levitate (1997) as well actually. i definitely prefer both Levitate and The Unutterable over The Marshall Suite, though i haven’t listened to Marshall anywhere near as much as the other two.

this is just the best


I really miss going to my annual Fall gig.


Funkhouser’s indicated that they’re up soon for a HGWTR thread, so bound to be some good pointers on there.

I’d add another vote for This Nation’s Saving Grace being a good place to start. Grotesque is my personal favourite though - the band sound really lean, it’s full of hooks and Smith’s on great form.

I’ve also got this comp which is an excellent introduction to their 90s output. The first CD is tracks from albums during that decade and the second is
an entertaining collection of collabs, covers and odds & ends I’d see what you like best from it and then investigate an album accordingly. As with the Can Singles record from a couple of years back it’s amazing how accessible they could be with some choice editing: