Mathew Hyland

Rip It Up, April? 1992

The Fall Code: Selfish

(Cog Sinister/ Fontana)

In an age of rampant platitude and compromise (if only we'd known that "breaking down the barriers" meant Push Push on BFM and a Hollywood movie staring Matt Dillon as the singer of Pearl Jam...) we need people like Mark E. Smith (if indeed there were any people like him) more than ever. His asceticism, his work ethic and his misanthropy are more "real" and certainly more passionate than the love, lust and whatever else most people's heroes pretend to be overwhelmed by. And, of course, there's more wit and intellectual rigour here than in 90 per cent of English novels, or in a lifetime of what TV companies call "quality British drama". There are far too few rock lyrics in the world featuring the words "prurience", "abject" and "vermin" and Smith is on a one-man mission to right the balance.

The music for this part of the crusade continues the themes of the first two albums: almost pastoral guitar pop defiled by the slur and sneer and miraculously unfunky collisions between dance machinery and garage ultra-primitivism. It's un-natural, it's anti-social, it's got to be good for you.