This Nation's Saving Grace

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This Nation's Saving Grace
This Nation's Saving Grace.jpg
Studio album by
Released23 September 1985
GenrePost-punk, art punk, art rock
LabelBeggars Banquet
ProducerJohn Leckie
The Fall chronology
The Wonderful and Frightening World Of...
This Nation's Saving Grace
Bend Sinister

This Nation's Saving Grace is the eighth studio album by English post-punk band The Fall. It was released in 1985 by Beggars Banquet, and is widely considered one of the band's best albums. According to The Guardian, the album "finds [the Fall] operating just on the edge of the mainstream and at the peak of their accessibility and yet strangeness".[1]

Background and production[edit]

Paul Hanley left the Fall in November 1984, leaving Karl Burns as the sole drummer and ending the band's classic dual drummer lineup. His brother, longtime Fall bassist Steve Hanley, took four months of paternity leave in late 1984, replaced by Simon Rogers, a classically trained musician whom frontman Mark E. Smith knew from an earlier collaboration with the dancer-choreographer Michael Clarke.

After Steve Hanley's return, Rogers remained in the band and switched to guitar and keyboards. Smith marked Hanley's reappearance with the inscription "S Hanley! He's Back" on the run-out groove on Side 1.


"Yarbles" (from the song titled "To NK Roachment: Yarbles") appears in the novel A Clockwork Orange as Nadsat for testicles or bollocks. The song's lyrics "Every day you have to die some/Every day you have to cry some" may be an allusion to the Arthur Alexander song "Every Day I Have To Cry Some" or possibly to similar lines in the Lou Reed song "Home of the Brave", from his 1983 album Legendary Hearts.

"I Am Damo Suzuki" is a tribute to the seminal 1970s Krautrock group Can and their occasional vocalist Damo Suzuki. The riff descending in semitones is based on the end section of "Bel Air" from the Can album Future Days (a similar progression also features in "Don't Turn the Light On, Leave Me Alone" from the Soundtracks album), while the drum pattern is based on "Oh Yeah" from Tago Mago.

The title of "What You Need" and its lyric "slippery shoes for your horrible feet" are references to an episode of The Twilight Zone. Another lyric, "a bit of Iggy Stooge," is a nod to an additional influence of Iggy Pop (who was credited as "Iggy Stooge" on the Stooges' first album).


This Nation's Saving Grace was released on 23 September 1985 by record label Beggars Banquet. It reached number 54 in the UK Albums Chart.[2]

After tours of the north of England and the US, the Fall recorded the double A-sided single "Couldn't Get Ahead"/"Rollin' Dany" and subsequent single "Cruiser's Creek" with Simon Rogers standing in on bass guitar.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[5]
The Guardian5/5 stars[1]
Mojo5/5 stars[6]
Q4/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[9]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[10]
The Village VoiceB+[12]

The album has received critical acclaim. It was ranked number 6 among the "Albums of the Year" for 1985 by NME.[13] Bruce Tiffee of Pitchfork cited This Nation's Saving Grace as "one of the strongest-ever Fall releases" and "perhaps the best record to emerge from the Beggars Banquet Fall era".[7] Dave Simpson of The Guardian wrote that the album showcased the Fall "thrillingly subverting the notion of what pop music is",[1] while John Mulvey of Uncut wrote that it contained the band's strongest configuration, "in all their menacing, utilitarian finery."[14]


Pitchfork listed This Nation's Saving Grace as 13th best album of the 1980s. It ranked at 46 in Spin's list of the 100 greatest albums from 1985 to 2005.[15] Slant Magazine listed the album at number 93 in its list of the best albums of the 1980s.[16] The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[17] In 2013, NME placed the album at number 400 on its list of 500 greatest albums. It was voted number 441 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[18]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
1."Mansion"Brix Smith1:21
2."Bombast"Steve Hanley, Mark E Smith3:08
3."Barmy"M. Smith5:21
4."What You Need"Craig Scanlon, M. Smith4:50
5."Spoilt Victorian Child"Simon Rogers, M. Smith4:13
6."L.A."Brix Smith, M. Smith4:10
Side B
7."Gut of the Quantifier"Karl Burns, M. Smith5:16
8."My New House"M. Smith5:16
9."Paint Work"Scanlon, M. Smith6:38
10."I Am Damo Suzuki"Burns, B. Smith, M. Smith5:41
11."To Nk Roachment: Yarbles"B. Smith, M. Smith1:23


The Fall


  1. ^ a b c Simpson, Dave (15 December 2011). "The Fall: This Nation's Saving Grace Omnibus Edition – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Fall | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  3. ^ Daryl Easlea – interview with Paul Hanley, "The Fall Box Set 1976 – 2007" accompanying booklet (Castle Music/Sanctuary 2007)
  4. ^ Mills, Ted. "This Nation's Saving Grace – The Fall". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Harrison, Ian (October 2016). "Rebellious Jukebox". Mojo (275): 62–67.
  7. ^ a b Tiffee, Bruce. "The Fall: This Nation's Saving Grace". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 6 October 2001. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  8. ^ Price, Simon (September 2015). "The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World Of ... / This Nation's Saving Grace". Q (350): 120.
  9. ^ Gross, Joe (2004). "The Fall". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 292–95. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  11. ^ Pinnock, Tom (August 2015). "The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall / This Nation's Saving Grace". Uncut (219): 92.
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (7 January 1986). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  14. ^ Mulvey, John (February 2011). "The Fall: This Nation's Saving Grace". Uncut (165): 98.
  15. ^ "Spin Magazine's 100 Greatest Albums 1985–2005". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  18. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2006). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 161. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.

External links[edit]