I hate to use such a stupid word but I can't help feeling this one's a bit... "overrated." Don't get me wrong, it's a terrific album and a few of the tracks are among my favorite Fall tunes ("Barmy" is one of their best rockers, "My New House" rules and what can be said about "Paint Work" other than "it's fucking brilliant?" What other band (MES) could make a lo-fi tape experiment that not only does amazing things with sound but is also extremely catchy?) but I don't see where the bulk of the tracks are all that much better than those found on their other albums of the period. So yes, it is a great album, but I'm tired of the lazy acceptance of it as the undisputed masterpiece of the band. I'd rate Hex, Grotesque and Perverted by Language well above it from an objective "These are better albums" standpoint and from a personal preference perspective I'd rather listen to The Frenz Experiment, The Wonderful and Frightening World Of... and probably Bend Sinister. And that's just the 80s.
Not one bad track, not even an average track. My favourite Fall line up, the rhythm section on this album is one of the tightest you'll ever hear. And John Leckie's production is perfect. I suspect that Smith might think it is too well produced! But then I would never presume to have a clue what MES thinks of anything. LOL!