Album #283: The Fall – Grotesque (After the Gramme)

  • Released: 1980
  • Origin: Prestwich, England
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Best Track: The NWRA

I’ve seen The Fall’s 1980 track ‘The NWRA’ (The North Will Rise Again) shared by a few groups recently in these times of local lockdowns and regional disparity, and it was enough to get me to listen to one of the many Fall albums I’ve never heard.

I mistakenly thought Hex Enduction Hour was The Fall’s third album, but it turns out that was their fourth and this one came before it. Despite Grotesque being new to me, I feel like I’ve heard a lot of these songs before. Maybe that’s just because it’s The Fall and they always sound exactly like The Fall.

Aside from the anthemic ‘The NWAR’, the album is notable for some of Mark E. Smith’s squeakiest and squawkiest vocals, especially on ‘New Face in Hell’, which Pavement more than “borrowed” the riff from on ‘Conduit For Sale’ 12 years later.

I’d say it’s predecessor Dragnet is a better example of their early work, but Grotesque is The Fall to a T.

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