By Ira Robbins
Updated October 26, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

After the punk years of poetry set to strident rock noise, England’s influential Fall added American guitarist-singer Brix Smith and threw a rough embrace around melody. Compiling 45s released between 1984 and 1989 (hence the title), 458489 offers a detailed, stimulating look at the Fall’s most likable side. Leader Mark E. Smith’s artless pronouncements remain an acquired taste, but covers of songs by Gene Vincent and the Kinks provide an easy path to understanding the Fall’s devoutly independent art. B+