Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall LP

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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. --Gene Booth

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