This album marks the debut of Steve Albini's incredible guitar sound. On Kerosene it sounds like he's playing shards of broken glass rather than a musical instrument, and when he's beefed up by Sant and Dave, and driven forward by Roland, the song becomes something more akin to a train derailment than a musical experience. Bad Houses, which immediately follows, is one of the darkest and moodiest songs around--I rank it with Pere Ubu's Final Solution, just to give you something to compare it with. The live version of Cables is a shimmering, simmering, nasty piece of rural living recorded at 7th St. Entry in Minneapolis--it's also obviously one of Steve's favorite versions, since it also appears on the Big Money 12" and Sound of Impact LP.
Originally to be released in mid to late 1985, this didn't see the light of day until early 1986--possibly due to problems licensing artwork (the cover was originally going to be Marvin the Martian pointing a deathray at Earth). Anywho, it was definitely worth the wait, this is the toughest, nastiest, noisiest Big Black stuff, bar none. Forget Songs About Fucking, this is the sound of Big Black at their peak.
The whole album moves forward in a lurching, explosive fashion that few bands can duplicate. It's easily one of the ten finest albums I own. The only weak spot is Strange Things, which was wisely cut from the Rich Man's Eight Track Tape CD.