Joining the ranks of the six-disc The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004
and the five-disc The Fall Box Set
, Singles 1978-2016
is another ambitious repackaging of the seemingly endless catalog of Mancunian post-punk institution the Fall
, collecting seven CDs' worth of tracks from their countless singles and EPs. The first three discs (also released separately as A-Sides 1978-2016
) present the A-sides in order, from "Bingo-Master" (which was actually the second track from the group's 1978 debut EP, Bingo-Master's Break-Out!
) to 2016's "Wise Ol' Man." The first disc contains the group's most abrasive, confrontational singles for labels like Step Forward and Rough Trade, ending up during the group's most accessible period, when leader Mark E. Smith
's then-wife Brix Smith
was a major contributor to the band's sound, and Beggars Banquet was releasing their records. Disc two continues with this era, including their hit covers of R. Dean Taylor
's "There's a Ghost in My House" and the Kinks
' "Victoria," then runs until the late '90s, including some of the group's occasional forays into dance music. The tracks on disc three often have more of a raw, garage rock-influenced sound, but there's still plenty of bizarreness, such as the synth-heavy Record Store Day single "Victrola Time." The remaining four discs focus on B-sides, again in chronological order. These include plenty of tracks that are entirely crucial to the band's oeuvre, including "Repetition" and "No Bulbs" -- considering how many times these songs have been anthologized before, it might be easy to forget that they initially appeared as B-sides. The set includes a detailed booklet displaying all of the singles' artwork, label scans, track lists, and recording information, listing every last format of each release and mentioning any additional promo items, such as the miniature tequila bottle that came with the promo 7" of the band's cover of the Big Bopper
's "White Lightning." It also reveals that not every single B-side is present on this set -- plenty of remixes, alternate versions, live takes, and non-album cuts are omitted, particularly from the EPs and multi-format releases. Also, 1981's Slates
10" is apparently considered an LP rather than an EP, and is unrepresented. Including everything would have required at least ten discs, and while most hardcore fans would probably prefer it this way, what's most important is that nearly everything here is brilliant. Highly recommended for anyone with the urge to plunge deeper into the Fall's tremendous body of work.