Arguably the single greatest album in The Fall’s 41 year history, 1982’s Hex Enduction Hour documents Mark E. Smith at the peak of his powers, fronting the most powerful lineup of the band. Steve Hanley’s bass is generally to the fore, flanked by guitarists Craig Scanlon and Marc Riley, and crucially featuring the twin drums of Paul Hanley and Karl Burns. At this point MES had a knack for combining kitchen-sink realism with the uncanny and supernatural, refracted through a Burroughs-esque prism. Recorded in a draughty cinema in Hitchin and a cave in Reykjavík, the album is bombastic, abstract, abrasive, hilarious, belligerent and utterly exhilarating.
The original crammed an hour of music onto a single LP, but this remastered Superior Viaduct reissue achieves much better sound quality than letting it sprawl over a double. If you’re looking for a way in to a potentially bewildering discography, start here!