Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Fall: 458489 A-Sides [Beggars Banquet, 1990]
Beginning, naturally, with the least catchy thing on the record (it came first, and who are they to deny history?), this singles compilation spans the entirety of Brix Smith's controversial (especially if you're an old friend of Mark's) tenure with the eternal U.K. art punks. Their drones don't resolve or climax or even pick up speed, yet though Mark's said to be a poet, they're not just there for the words, many of them undecodable--they're there for the drones. Which just hurry you along on a nagging groove whose intimations of eternity are in no way undermined by Brix's penchant for deep detail. The only Fall record any normal person need own. A-