Middle Class Revolt

Middle Class Revolt is the sixteenth album by the Fall, released in 1994 in the UK on Permanent Records and in the US on Matador Records. It spent one week on the UK Albums Chart at number 48, a marked contrast to the top 10 debut of their preceding album, The Infotainment Scan. The album's full title is Middle Class Revolt A/K/A The Vapourisation Of Reality.[1] Drummer Karl Burns features for the first time since 1985's This Nation's Saving Grace, having rejoined the band in 1993.

Middle Class Revolt
Studio album by
Released3 May 1994
StudioSuite 16, Rochdale/The Windings, Wrexham
GenreAlternative rock, post-punk
LabelPermanent, Matador
ProducerRex Sergeant
The Fall chronology
The Infotainment Scan
Middle Class Revolt
Cerebral Caustic


The album included two songs previously released as singles, "Behind the Counter" (December 1993 – UK no. 75) and "15 Ways" (April 1994 – UK no. 65), although different versions of both were included on the album. A further five tracks from the album featured as B-sides across the formats of these singles, and, although most were different versions, this meant that the album only contained seven songs that were new to fans upon its release, three of which were cover versions. In addition, "Hey! Student" is a reworked version of "Hey! Fascist", which The Fall used to play live in their early days (as shown by its inclusion on Live 1977).[2] The version of "M5" included was considered inferior to the version released on the Behind the Counter EP in 1993.[3]

The album's cover versions were less mainstream than some of their other recent choices: "War", originally by Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, "Shut Up!", originally by The Monks (whom The Fall had already covered twice on 1990s Extricate) and a bizarre version of "Junk Man", originally by The Groundhogs.[2] According to Daryl Easlea's sleeve notes for the 2006 reissue, Mark E. Smith prevailed upon the group to deliver the song from memory and, as a result, was backed by minimal drums, bass, kazoo and some tuneless hollering from Burns. "Symbol of Mordgan" is based upon a recording of Scanlon discussing a football match by telephone on John Peel's Saturday afternoon programme.

Middle Class Revolt is, as Easlea notes, not a uniformly popular album amongst the group's fans. Nevertheless, it houses some popular tracks. Indeed, "Hey! Student" attained the number 2 position in John Peel's 1994 Festive Fifty, beaten to the top only by Inspiral Carpets' "I Want You", which featured Smith as guest vocalist.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [2]
The Boston Globefavourable[4]
NME7/10 (8/10)[1]
The Washington Postfavourable[5]

The album received a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 from AllMusic, with Ted Mills describing it as "a mixture of lackluster performances and songs filled with vigor and fury".[2] the NME's Ian McCann gave the album "7/10 by their own standards, 8/10 by everyone else's", calling the band "professionally incompetent, true punk artisans making masterpieces sound like demos".[1] Jim Sullivan, for The Boston Globe, stated the album has "enough caustic barbs and wry witticisms snake through the dense mix to provide cerebral fun for those who like to carp along", going on to say "It's nasty, it's gleeful, it's the Fall still twisting the ironic/angry knife."[4] Mark Jenkins, in The Washington Post, described it as "unusually smooth for an album by these veteran British post-punk eccentrics" viewing its highlights to be "its irascible mantras, notably the unusually quick-tempoed "Hey! Student" and the dense "Shut Up!"".[5] Stereogum's Robert Ham viewed it as their "best album in at least five years".[6]

Track listingEdit

The album was controversial for its writing credits, in which all Fall originals were credited to Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley, despite some of the tracks having already been credited differently on the preceding single releases. According to drummer Simon Wolstencroft (who claimed to have co-written "Middle Class Revolt" and "City Dweller"), there was "a misprint on the credits due to a cock-up at the record label".[7]

  1. "15 Ways" (Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley) – 3:16
  2. "The Reckoning" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 3:37
  3. "Behind the Counter" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 3:09
    • credited on the single release to (Smith, Karl Burns)
  4. "M5#1" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 3:30
  5. "Surmount All Obstacles" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 3:53
  6. "Middle Class Revolt!" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 3:04
  7. "War" (Peter Blegvad, Anthony Moore) – 2:55
  8. "You're Not up to Much" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 4:03
    • credited on BMI website to (Smith, Scanlon)[8]
  9. "Symbol of Mordgan" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 3:07
  10. "Hey! Student" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 4:28
    • credited on The Complete Peel Sessions 1978–2004 to (Smith)
  11. "Junk Man" (McFree – actually Tony McPhee) – 4:20
  12. "The $500 Bottle of Wine" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 2:33
  13. "City Dweller" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) – 4:12
  14. "Shut Up!" (The Monks) – 3:39

Some CD editions erroneously list "War" as track 13, although the actual running order on CD is correct.

2006 editionEdit

The album was remastered and reissued as an expanded two-disc set in 2006. The second disc included the group's 17th session for John Peel, alternate mixes of several album tracks previously issued on singles and a clutch of rare or previously unheard remixes.

Disc one

  • As per original release

Disc two

  1. "M5" (Peel Session recording)
  2. "Behind The Counter" (Peel Session recording)
  3. "Reckoning" (Peel Session recording)
  4. "Hey! Student" (Peel Session recording)
  5. "Behind The Counter (single mix)
  6. "War" (single mix)
  7. "Cab Driver" (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) (single B-side)
    • an early version of "City Dweller"
  8. "M5" (single mix)
  9. "Happy Holiday" (Smith, Hanley) (single B-side)
  10. "Behind The Counter" (remix)
  11. "15 Ways" (single mix)
  12. "Happy Holiday" (Promo mix)
  13. "Middle Class Revolt" (The Drum Club Prozac mix)
  14. "Middle Class Revolt" (The Drum Club Orange In The Mouth mix)
  15. "Middle Class Revolt" (Rex Sargeant mix)
  16. "Surmount All Obstacles" (Rex Sargeant mix)



  1. ^ a b c McCann, Ian. "Revolting, Cock". NME. Archived from the original on 20 November 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d Mills, Ted Middle Class Revolt at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 February 2018
  3. ^ Smith, Mark & Middles, Mick (2010) The Fall, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-1847724168
  4. ^ a b Sullivan, Jim (1994) "The Fall Middle Class Revolt aka The Vapourisation of Reality", The Boston Globe, 8 September 1994. Retrieved 25 February 2018  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b Jenkins, Mark (1994) "Fall's Post-Punk; Magnapop's Punch", The Washington Post, 9 September 1994. Retrieved 25 February 2018  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  6. ^ Ham, Robert (2015) "Middle Class Revolt", stereogum.com, 12 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2018
  7. ^ "The Biggest Library Yet, issue 2". 1994.
  8. ^ "BMI | Repertoire Search".