Under Review: The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter

Another music writer somewhere on these internets quipped that legendary Manchester outfit The Fall is made up of Mark E. Smith and whoever Smith hasn’t kicked out of the band yet.  At times, the band’s continued existence and unrelenting output has seemed more like a refusal to give up than a desire to keep moving forward.  Moving forward is something that Smith has done though, taking his project from the noisy depths of sludgy post-punk to more experimental sounds as the decades went on.  The Fall’s career has been defined by music that was, as longtime fan John Peel put it, “always different…always the same.”  That statement could serve as the band’s mantra, and it certainly fits in describing Your Future Our Clutter, The Fall’s 28th (!!?!) studio album.  The record is a fresh yet classic picture of The Fall in all their terrifying, rocking glory.  We already heard from Smith earlier this year on the Gorillaz’ most recent album, and there’s definitely a loosely danceable energy to many of the songs on YFOC.  There are two tracks that border on being the title track: the opening “O.F.Y.C. Showcase,” which features Smith barking orders over a propulsive backbeat, and “Y.F.O.C. / Slippy Floor,” whose manic second half is the real showstopper.  Most of the tracks weave in and out of sections, and “Cowboy George” does this to the greatest effect.  What starts out as a psycho-rodeo roundup decays into a tremulous loop of noise under Smith’s wandering verse.  Some of the longer songs transition between their movements more abruptly, like “Bury Pts. 1 + 3,” which kicks around an almost comically low fidelity recording before launching into a growling organ-led thump.  While The Fall have remained such a singularly original band throughout their whole career, YFOC makes room for a cover song, namely the Countrypolitan favorite “Funnel Of Love.”  Of all the versions of this song that have been recorded, The Fall’s is perhaps the strangest, as they take the Nashville classic and play it nearly straight, save for some obligatory feedback.  Smith muses on the passage of time in the pensive “Chino,” pondering, “When do I quit?”  It’s a question that I hope Smith takes several decades more to figure out.

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~ by E. on May 12, 2010.

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