In the early days, if the Fall released a track on a 7" you could be sure it wouldn't turn up on the subsequent LP. As a result, Fall singles from the late '70s and early '80s reached high prices on the collector's market and the songs occasionally surfaced on bootleg collections and such, even though the 1981 LP Early Years, 1977-1979 had given most of them a legitimate release. This Early Singles set culls all the 7" sides the band cut for the indie labels Step Forward (1978-1980) and Kamera (1981-1982). Most of these songs have been included as bonus tracks on the reissues of Fall in a Hole, Live at the Witch Trials, Dragnet, and Hex Enduction Hour that Cog Sinister/Voiceprint released in 2002, but they make a good album on their own. Mark E. Smith approached the single somewhat differently than the album. He had a tendency to toy around with the "hit single" format. These songs are a bit more playful -- with tongue firmly placed in cheek. The set begins with "Bingo-Master's Break-Out!," crude even for a Fall track and yet already presenting every element that would become Mark E. Smith's signature mark. The anguish-ridden "Repetition" and the wild "Rowche Rumble" rank among the best tracks this collection has to offer. Other highlights include "Fantastic Life" (1981) and "The Marquis Cha-Cha" (1982), one of the Fall's best songs from that era. If you hold on to your original LPs or '90s CD reissues (which didn't have these bonus tracks), you should definitely consider acquiring this set.
AllMusic Review by François Couture