The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall 12" (new)

Beggar's Banquet Records


The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall is the apex of the Fall's Brix era in which Mark E. Smith, unheralded hip priest of Manchester punk, finally met his match (Smith and young American Brix met at a Chicago gig and quickly wed.) With Mrs. Smith aboard everything upgraded--the lyrics and vocals took a quirky turn as Brix chimed in, and the guitars gained a more streamlined edge. Yes, she could play guitar, and write. Even the cover art seemed to suggest a new Fall, writ large in day-glo colors. This record, their second with Brix, shows them finally ready to grapple with notions they'd scorned previously, such as actual production values (with Rough Trade honcho John Leckie engineering) and commercial accessibility (witness the sawing chords of "2x4" and "Lay of the Land"). This marks a critical moment in the Fall saga as they finally gained some U.S. recognition and prepared to up the commercial ante even more.

Our Take: Along with This Nation's Saving Grace, Beggar's have also seen fit to reissue The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, another record from the golden era of the Fall when Brix was in the band and they were at their tightest and most accessible. While I usually encourage Fall neophytes to start with This Nation's Saving Grace, you really can't go wrong with any of the Brix-era LPs (or any of their first dozen or so full-lengths for that matter) as they are all chock full of hits. The Wonderful and Frightening World is no different, with "Lay of the Land," "2x4," "Elves," and "Slang King" ranking among my all-time favorite Fall songs. As I noted in my description of This Nation's Saving Grace, I feel like this era of the band had a defining influence on what we now think of us indie rock, so if you're interested in bands like Guided by Voices, Pavement, or the Pixies, or if you just want to hear some of the best music made in the 80s both this and This Nation's Saving Grace simply must be in your collection in some form or another. Essential.
Tags: 80s melodic post-punk reissues yoobl