Many Fall fans that I know would probably opt for Hex, Witch Trials or Slates as their favourite album by the band. Much as I do love those albums along with Perverted By Language and The Wonderful and Frightening world my own personal favourite Fall album and Number Seven in my Top Ten album rundown is 1985's This Nation's Saving Grace.
For me, this album shows the band at the height of their creative powers and is the closest they got to making a mainstream album. Yes, the influence of Brix Smith is stamped all over the album but that is part of what makes this such a great album. Brix brings along a pop sensibility but this is still very much a Fall album, with Mark E Smith's wit and twisted take on the everyday in overdrive. Although operating at the peak of their accessibility, this is by no means an easy listen, with the album running the gamut from pop to avant garde to electronica to rockabilly to krautrock, sometimes in the space of one song. It is more focussed and consistent than most of their other albums, while at the same time being simultaneously experimental. There is not a bad song on the album, from the opening relentless swagger of Bombast right through to the tribute to Can lead singer of I Am Damo Suzuki. Not a sound or second is wasted on an album that thrillingly subverts what pop music is, with The Fall managing to create something truly unique and special.
Couldn't Get Ahead