The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall (Omnibus Edition)

The Fall


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2010, Beggars Banquet

Compiled for fans, the Omnibus Editions are intended to expand and illuminate the development of specific albums, bringing together all the relevant single releases with previously unreleased studio, session and live recordings. Omnibus Editions are presented as limited edition box sets and include CDs in the Japanese-style paper sleeves, reproducing the original vinyl cover art, with a forty-eight page book. Despite the deluxe packaging the, sets are great value and priced to retail priced to sell. Released in 1984, The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall was the band's eighth studio album and their first for Beggars Banquet. This release chronicles that year; from the full integration of Brix Smith into the group, the introduction of John Leckie as the recording producer, the BBC sessions, live shows, changes in the line-up and the rise of a wider appreciation for The Fall's music. The first CD edition (issued in 1988) followed the extended track sequence of the cassette but for this Omnibus Edition the album has been re-mastered from the studio analogue tapes and restored to its original nine song format with all additional tracks on Disc Two. Disc Three gathers all the relevant BBC sessions: not only a predictable John Peel session recorded in December 1983 (the earliest recordings of TWAFWOTF material) but also previously unreleased sessions from David Jensen and Janice Long as well as a "Saturday Live" recording. Disc Four is a live recording made by VPRO radio at Pandora's Music Box festival in The Netherlands and is remarkably perky considering The Fall took to the stage for their headline set at 3:15 AM on a Sunday morning.

'The Fall made the leap to a semi-major label - Beggars Banquet - with The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, hooking up with noted producer John Leckie to create another smart, varied album. Contemporaneous with the slightly friendlier "Oh! Brother" and "C.R.E.E.P." singles without actually including them, Wonderful and Frightening World makes few concessions to the larger market - every potential hook seemed spiked with the band's usual rough take-it-or-leave-it stance. Mark E. Smith's audible, tape-distorting spit on the descending chord blast of "Elves" - already spiked with enough vocal craziness as it is - gives a sense of where the album as a whole aims. Brix Smith co-writes about half the tracks, creating a strong partnership with many highlights. It may start with a semi-low-key chant, but when "Lay of the Land" fully kicks in, it does just that, Craig Scanlon in particular pouring on the feedback at the end over the clattering din. Smith sounds as coruscating and side-splittingly hilarious as ever, depicting modern Britain with an eye for the absurdities and failures (and crucially, no empathy - it's all about a gimlet eye projected at everyone and everything). Two further standouts appear on the second half - "Slang King," a snarling portrayal of a cool-in-his-mind dude and his increasingly pathetic life, and the concluding "Disney's Dream Debased." Though unquestionably the most conventionally attractive tune on the album, ringing guitars and all, Smith's lyrics portray a Disneyland scenario in hell, however softly delivered. Elsewhere, Gavin Friday from the Virgin Prunes takes a bow with his own unmistakable, spindly vocals on the trebly Krautrock chug of "Copped It" and the slightly more brute rhythm of "Stephen Song."' - All Music Guide


Disc 1 Disc 2 Disc 3 Disc 4
1 Lay of the Land
2 2 by 4
3 Copped It
4 Elves
5 Slang King
6 Bug Day
7 Stephen Song
8 Craigness
9 Disney's Dream Debased

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