Generously expanded reissues of 1979 debut and follow-up

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The Fall

Discounting the exhausted, Groundhog Day-like apathy most fans must now feel where The Fall’s reissue avalanche is concerned, a 25th anniversary seems good cause to celebrate Mark E Smith’s opening brace; the yelping, cynical Bontempipunk of Live At The Witch Trials and the coarse, post-Beefheart sermonising of Dragnet. Originally released at opposite ends of 1979, both witnessed the steady fermentation of the smart, secular Northern detachment Smith later perfected on his first real masterpiece, 1980’s Grotesque.

Extras include the usual nonalbum, Peel session and live tracks; all fabulous, but even a card-carrying Fall disciple like myself can see that, played consecutively, the four alternate takes of “Rowche Rumble” on the latter are akin to some Salford equivalent of Chinese water torture.