Along with bonus tracks, this is another sixteen Fall tunes - same as the last time - but this album receives a much higher rating because (a) the tunes are much better, and (b) the tunes don't all sound the same. This one's got variety.
Critics often cite This Nation's Saving Grace
as the best entry point for neophytes into the wackily wonderful world of The Fall, and - to quote another noted Manchester poet, Morrissey - 'they were half right'.
The half they got right is that this album is as brilliantly inconsistently consistent as any Fall release, covering nearly all the aspects of the band up to this point, and tantalizingly pointing in a few new directions as well, particularly with the ace "L.A.", which reflects the interest in electronica Smith would pursue so relentlessly in the 90's. Similarly, "Paint Work" shifts The Fall into an interestingly dreamy corner of the pop universe that they'd never explored before.
There's a nagging sense however - and I may be alone in this (judging by every other review on the net, I probably am) - that there's something missing. There doesn't seem to be any unified sense of purpose or vision as on previous Fall albums, which - love it or loathe it - Hex Enduction Hour
certainly had. What's here instead is a collection of sixteen unrelated Fall songs, randomly distributed throughout the album in terms of quality and style, such that the album would flow just as well on random play, which is to say not at all, no doubt aggravated by the original album being padded with A/B-sides from singles thrown in as bonus tracks at random.
by Reviewer: Creative Noise
(blogging at Creative Noise