Grotesque (album)

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Studio album by The Fall
Released 17 November 1980
Recorded Cargo Studios, Rochdale, England
Genre Post-punk, art punk
Length 41:21
Label Rough Trade
Producer The Fall, Geoff Travis, Grant Showbiz, Mayo Thompson
The Fall chronology
Totale's Turns

Grotesque, subtitled After the Gramme, is the third studio album by English art punk band The Fall. It was released on 17 November 1980, and is their first release on the record label Rough Trade.


This was the first album for drummer Paul Hanley (Steve Hanley's younger brother), who joined The Fall earlier in the year aged just 15.

The album was preceded by two acclaimed singles "How I Wrote 'Elastic Man'" and "Totally Wired", which were subsequently included on CD reissues of the album. The eye-catching full colour sleeve (the group's first) was drawn by Mark E. Smith's sister, Suzanne.

The album was much more outward-looking than its predecessor, Dragnet (1979), and Smith's lyrical maturity was striking, reading as a state-of-the-nation address on "English Scheme" and "C'n'C-S Mithering". The album also included the gothic horror of "Impression of J. Temperance" and the conspiracy theory-fuelled "New Face in Hell". In fact, a number of the tracks have particularly idiosyncratic titles: "The N.W.R.A.", representing the track's lyric, "the north will rise again" (not, as some supposed, "The North West Republican Army"[1]); "C'n'C-S Mithering", a reference to cash and carries, specifically two warehouses near Manchester, and "W.M.C. – Blob 59", WMC being a common abbreviation for Working Men's Club.

According to the Slates & Dates press release, this album was, at one point, to be titled After the Gramme – The Grotesque Peasants.

"New Face in Hell" takes its name from the 1968 film P. J. which (according to IMDb) was retitled New Face in Hell in the UK.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B[3]

AllMusic opined that the band "really started hitting its stride" with this album.[2]


Grotesque was first reissued through Castle Music in 1993. In 1998, Cog Sinister, Mark E. Smith's own imprint, released a poorly mastered edition with significant vinyl noise. However, an improved edition followed almost immediately through Castle, adding four bonus tracks: "How I Wrote 'Elastic Man'", "City Hobgoblins", "Totally Wired" and "Putta Block", the last of these being slightly edited from the original "Totally Wired" single. The final and current edition, again on Castle, was properly remastered, including the four bonus tracks ("Putta Block" still being slightly cut) and a "self-interview" by Mark E. Smith which had been used for promotional purposes upon the album's original release.

The original ten-track album was reissued on vinyl by the Turning Point label in 2002 with a two-LP edition being issued by Earmark in 2005. The latter edition replicated the definitive tracklisting of the 2004 CD.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Mark E. Smith

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Pay Your Rates"   Smith 2:58
2. "English Scheme"   Marc Riley, Craig Scanlon, Smith 2:06
3. "New Face in Hell"   Riley, Scanlon, Smith 5:40
4. "C'n'C-S Mithering"   Smith, Steve Hanley, Riley, Scanlon 7:36
5. "The Container Drivers"   Riley, Scanlon, Hanley, Smith 3:08
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Impression of J. Temperance"   Riley, Scanlon, Smith 4:20
2. "In the Park"   Smith 1:43
3. "W.M.C. – Blob 59"   Smith 1:19
4. "Gramme Friday"   Scanlon, Riley, Smith 3:19
5. "The N.W.R.A."   Scanlon, Hanley, Smith 9:08




  1. ^ Edge, Brian (1989). Paintwork. Omnibus Press. 
  2. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Grotesque (After the Gramme) – The Fall: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: The Fall". Retrieved 7 March 2013. 

External links[edit]