Melody Maker, Dec. 18 , 1993

Behind The Counter (the first Fall single to make it onto the Radio One playlist)


THE FALL: Behind The Counter (Permanent)

At times, Mike Leigh's Naked could be a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Mark E Smith. It's the way David Thewlis' character picks on strangers, corners them and then bludgeons them into complete confusion with a stream of skewed logic, unscrewed madness, acid invective, prophet without honour preaching and nasty Manc sneering. Repellent but compelling.

He never gives in, either. At first it seems the movie's sapped a little of Smith's machine-gun vitriol, judging by his relative restraint on 'Behind The Counter'. This is too close to a nice, neat and proper song to be really classic Fall. "I'm getting thin," he sings - sort of - while whistles blow, vague dub effects ebb in and out and the band loosen from the usual, magnificent military drone.

Good, obviously, but not a patch on the B-side 'War', a bleak and clipped marching song from Mars that manages to mention "Woolworths", "autobahns" and "empty aerodromes", and makes a fine sequel to previous apocalyptic migraine-food like 'US 80s-90s'. The old bastard couldn't make a bad record if he was paid to. And he'd have a go, too.