A mixture of lackluster performances and songs filled with vigor and fury, Middle Class Revolt is a puzzling proposition from the Fall. After two opening tracks that seem ready to convince worried fans that Smith couldn't care less ("15 Ways" and "Reckoning") there follows the poppish "Behind the Counter" and their devilish cover of Henry Cow's "War," with Smith making up half the lyrics. Other highlights include the furious "Hey! Student" (a rewrite of a 1977 tune, "Hey! Fascist"), and yet another Monks cover: "Shut Up!" All find Smith in fine form, impassioned and deeply sarcastic. The band experiments with some techno, some tape manipulation, and sparse rock arrangements, though the vocals on this disc are the most layered of any Fall release. There's also some local (Manchester, that is) social criticism going on in tracks, such as "M5#1" and "City Dweller," which takes on the aborted attempt to hold the Olympic games in Smith's city (the nerve!).
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AllMusic Review by Ted Mills