The Fall

The Fall: 1982

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Continuing Cherry Red's extensive series of reissues and repackages of the Fall's back catalog, the label rounded up the group's 1982 output with this six-disc box set, including two studio albums (the gargantuan Hex Enduction Hour and the much more succinct Room to Live), and four CDs' worth of singles, Peel sessions, and live material, including the infamous Fall in a Hole. By 1982, the band had left Rough Trade due to dissatisfaction with the label's operations, instead signing with the fledgling Kamera Records, who issued the single "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" in November of 1981. Split between sessions recorded in Reykjavík, Iceland, and an old cinema in the small British market town of Hitchin, Hex Enduction Hour is a bitter, confrontational epic that takes shots at the record industry, the music press, the BBC, the left as well as the right, and seemingly everything else. Bleak, unsparing, exhausting, and exhilarating, the album was immediately hailed as the band's first masterpiece, and it remains one of their absolute best. Room to Live was a quickly recorded follow-up consisting of tracks that hadn't been rehearsed or performed live, and not all of the bandmembers were asked to perform on each song. Mark E. Smith deliberately wanted to make more of a spontaneous, back-to-basics record, however, in order to avoid turning into a sort of overblown chart-pop band. While messier and less urgent than Hex, Smith's lyrics are just as acerbic as before, and the album boasts a few excellent songs, including the loopy title track and the oddly festive "Marquis Cha-Cha." Fall in a Hole was recorded in Auckland and released by Flying Nun in late 1983 under what the label thought was an agreement with the band (Smith was unhappy to see copies pop up in England as an import, and demanded full royalties from the label). The set is a slightly more unhinged run-through of material from both albums as well as 1981 releases such as Slates, with out-of-tune keyboards and dodgy sound quality (the second disc was taken from cassettes recorded by audience members). Assorted live tracks previously included on CD reissues of these albums are again included here, as well as the entirety of a live gig recorded in Melbourne. There aren't any unearthed rarities included in the set, so Fall diehards will already have everything here, but it's ideal for casual fans looking to dig deeper into one of the group's most caustic, unpredictable periods.

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