Bursting into the 1980s on a new label (the then-upstart, now-legendary Rough Trade) and with an augmented, audibly panicked lineup, The Fall's Grotesque is the true pure-bred Fall release from the Marc Riley era. Released in the immediate wake of The Fall's most beloved single (Totally Wired), the album carries over that righteously famed teeth-chattering, bolstered in no small part by the drumming of new addition Paul Hanley, brother of bassist Steve Hanley and aged only 15 at the time of recording.
"Pay Your Rates" negates the notion of easing into things, opening the album with pure jitter, guided by hornet-buzz guitars and Mark E. Smith's commanding shout, allowing for breath only during the brief, lumbering waltzes that appear at unexpected intervals. "New Face In Hell" is an entirely alien take on dancehall post-punk – a kazoo-driven rave-up that holds an unshakable position in the band's canon.
Many significant firsts surround Grotesque, including The Fall's inaugural production partnership with Mayo Thompson and the debut of Suzanne Smith's wonderful artwork, both of which would play key roles in the band's following phase.
Liner notes by Brian Turner.