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Cover Art The Fall
This Nation's Saving Grace
[Beggars Banquet; 1985; r: 1997]
Rating: 10.0

The strongest-ever Fall release, This Nation's Saving Grace, is unquestionably the best record to emerge from the Beggars Banquet Fall era (1984-1989). While 1984's The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall) was hampered by lackluster production, this record roars now with as much conviction as it did upon initial release in 1985.

The cartoonish, sinister angle which has always been a vital aspect of The Fall's music is particularly effective here. Some of their best-ever, halfway-poppy spite rock ("Cruiser's Creek", "My New House") rubs elbows with quite zonked and successful experiments like the tremendous tape cut-up piece "Paintwork", the soundtrack to infinity "L.A.", and their long-awaited Can tribute "I Am Damo Suzuki". (Their equally overdue Captain Beefheart tribute finally took place last year, when "Beatle Bones and Smoking Stones" was covered in a session for John Peel.) Just an embarrassment of riches here-- you've even got some stellar b-sides thrown in ("Petty Thief Lout", the flipside of "Cruiser's Creek", stacks up nicely alongside this classic material.)

With this re-release, I now own a second CD copy of this release, which means that my total now stands at one LP, one cassette and two CDs of Saving Grace (anyone got a mini-disc or enhanced CD-R copy for trade?). I look back now at the crop of then-great '85 releases and this album is the only one in the bunch which doesn't sound the least bit dated twelve years on. Don't make the same mistake the second time around; pick this up and shed a tear over the lost promise of rock authenticity.

-Bruce Tiffee, September, 1997

10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible