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Hex Enduction Hour is the fourth studio album by English art punk band The Fall. It was released on 8 March 1982, through record label Kamera.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Background

Background[edit]Edit

Hex Enduction Hour was The Fall's first album to feature both Karl Burns and Paul Hanley in a two-drummer line-up. It was partly recorded in Iceland during the group's 1981 visit, with the remainder being completed in a disused cinema in Hitchin, England. A single, "Look, Know"/"I'm into C. B.", was recorded contemporaneously, but not included on the album; standard practice for the group until 1986.

Mark E. Smith told journalist Sandy Robertson that he had envisaged Hex as being the group's final album and that he would not have continued in music had this been the case.[1]

In 1984, Motown Records expressed an interest in signing the band to a new UK division and asked to hear their back catalogue. Hex was the only album Smith had to hand. The letter the group received back stated "I see no commercial potential in this band whatsoever". Smith publicly speculated that this might have had something to do with the lines "Where are the obligatory niggers?/Hey there, fuckface" from album opener "The Classical".[2]

One of the record's most recognised tunes is "Hip Priest". Smith later reworked the song for the band's 1988 album I Am Kurious Oranj, while the original track was used in the climax of the 1991 film The Silence of the LambsColin Wilson, a writer on the occult and existentialist philosophy, is mentioned in the refrain of "Deer Park".

Describing the album's style, Stylus Magazine wrote, "Hex demonstrates the culmination of 'early' Fall: a monolithic beast of ragged grooves piloted through the embittering miasma of English society by the verbose acidity/Joycean all-inclusiveness of Mark E. Smith."[3]

Release[edit]Edit

Hex Enduction Hour was the first Fall album to make the UK Albums Chart, spending three weeks in it and peaking at No. 71.[4]

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [5]
Pitchfork 9.6/10[6]
PopMatters 9/10[7]
The Quietus very favourable[8]
Record Collector [9]
Stylus Magazine A[3]

Hex Enduction Hour has been routinely praised by music critics. Record Collector called it a "taut, twitchy and ominous masterclass in DIY post-punk".[9] The Quietus called it "arguably [...] The Fall's mightiest hour."[8] Mark E. Smith's lyrics in particular were singled out for praise.[9]

Re-issues[edit]Edit

The album went out of print when the Kamera label folded in 1983, but a German edition on the Line imprint remained available, with copies pressed on white vinyl. Line also issued a CD edition, flat transferred from a later generation tape.

In 2002, a new edition claiming to be remastered was released via Mark E. Smith's Cog Sinister imprint, but was actually just a direct clone of the Line CD, adding both sides of the "Look, Know" single.

The album was finally remastered from the original master tapes and issued in January 2005 via Sanctuary with a disc of bonus material (omitting "Look, Know" but not its B-side). In April 2007, a single-disc edition containing just the original album was issued in a digipak sleeve at midprice. The Sanctuary two-disc edition was repressed in alternate, expanded packaging by Universal in 2009.

Legacy[edit]Edit

Pitchfork Media listed Hex Enduction Hour as the 33rd best album of the 1980s.[10]

"The Classical" was later covered (though with altered lyrics) by Pavement, who Mark E. Smith accused of copying The Fall in their early career.[11] Pavement's version is currently available on the expanded edition of their 1997 album Brighten the Corners.

Personnel[edit]Edit

  • Mark E. Smith – vocals, guitar, production, tape operation on "Fortress / Deer Park" and "Iceland"
  • Craig Scanlon – guitar, backing vocals, piano on "Iceland"
  • Marc Riley – electronic organ, guitar, piano, backing vocals, banjo on "Iceland"
  • Steve Hanley – bass guitar, backing vocals, xylophone on "Hip Priest"
  • Paul Hanley – drums, guitar on "Winter" tracks
  • Karl Burns – drums, backing vocals, tape operation on "Fortress / Deer Park"
  • Kay Carroll – percussion, backing vocals
Technical

Track listing[edit]Edit

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "The Classical"   5:16
2. "Jawbone and the Air-Rifle"   3:43
3. "Hip Priest"   7:45
4. "Fortress / Deer Park"   6:41
5. "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed."   2:50
6. "Winter (Hostel-Maxi)"   4:26
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Winter 2"   4:33
2. "Just Step S'ways"   3:22
3. "Who Makes the Nazis?"   4:27
4. "Iceland"   6:42
5. "And This Day"  
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