In 1996, before the Fall released The Light User Syndrome on Jet, Receiver, a subsidiary of the label (and of Trojan) gained access to a slew of unreleased and rare Fall tracks and began doling them out across a series of CDs. Sinister Waltz was the first of a trio that included Fiend With a Violin and Oswald Defence Lawyer. All three are marked with shoddy packaging, useless liner notes, and a complete lack of documentation. Are these live recordings (if so, when?), demos, or outtakes? At least this first compilation offers some rarities: a cover of Jeff Lynne's "Birthday" (of all things) and the Shift Work-era B-sides "Blood Outta Stone," "The Knight, the Devil, and Death" (an instrumental), and "Pumpkin Head Escapes." Best of the lot is "Arid Al's Dream," a lost Fall song that only appeared in an issue of the CD magazine Volume. In it Smith ruminates over his interest in "prepsycognition" through a tale of the sexually frustrated title character. An unnerving hoot of a song. The sound quality varies throughout, reaching its nadir in "Wings," which has all the hallmarks of a fan's tape recording.
AllMusic Review by Ted Mills