By the Fall’s sixth session, in March 1983, they’d managed to eradicate every hint of similarity to their contemporaries, which is to say that they wrote and played so eccentrically that the recording can hardly be heard on any terms but its own. Craig Scanlan had settled into his preferred guitar sound, just far enough out of tune to sound sour but not bitter; two drummers made their rhythms grind like a mill-wheel. “Smile,” a lacerating attack on a “lick-spittle southerner” fashionista, is built on a monomaniacal fifteen-beat-long riff. Half the band gets lost almost immediately and stays there, and it doesn’t matter, because Smith is in control, circling around to the title every few seconds and screaming it like a warning of an attack.
Douglas Wolk on The Fall at The Believer.