Release Date: May 4, 2010
Record label: Domino
The pro forma approach to reviewing a new album by The Fall in the 21st century is to declare it a return to the band’s glory days, wherein Mark E Smith recruits a group of young bucks who really ‘get’ the groundwork laid down by the likes of Craig Scanlon and Steve Hanley, while simultaneously riddling Smith's lyrics with just the right amount of spit and bile. There won’t be any such claims for Your Future Our Clutter here. These are certainly strange times for The Fall — a lengthy gap between releases, a relatively stable band lineup, and even rumours that new label Domino rejected an earlier version of this album.
Call it a comeback two decades in the making—or going out in style after a long, tempestuous career that started in the 1970s. There’s only one indie band that can say it is releasing its best album in 25 years, and that’s the Fall. Better known as a seminal influence and an elder statesman than for his actual output for a while now, Mark E. Smith has rallied his troops to craft a return to form with Your Future Our Clutter that you hoped, but wasn’t sure, the Fall was still capable of.
Mark E. Smith knows a thing or two about clutter. With an unwieldy and fascinatingly erratic discography, the sole original member of The Fall has continuously barraged humankind for three decades with clanging, caustic hybrids of rock, pop and dance (sometimes piled-up in the same four minutes). Still vital at age 53, he’s delivered another cantankerously great Fall album in Your Future, Our Clutter, a bristling suite of relatively spacious, always unpredictable songs clammy with mutant distortions that are never less than electrified.
In 1998, God-bothering entertainer of the Wimbledon tennis crowds [b]Cliff Richard[/b] managed to overcome public and music industry prejudice by releasing a 12-inch single under the name [b]‘Blacknight’[/b]. The track was an immediate hit with radio playlists – until producers discovered the artist’s true identity. It’s hard not to wish [b]The Fall[/b] would consider a similar tactic.
When a singer describes their backing band as "the best lineup I've ever had", one can usually dismiss this as mere gush. But when the singer is Mark E Smith, who regards musicians with all the sentiment of a rottweiler eyeing a butcher's counter, it's worth pausing to wonder. Now intact for two consecutive albums, this incarnation of the Fall is the most stable in 15 years, with good reason: it's a ferocious unit, propulsive, choppy and playful.
Your Future Our Clutter is the 28th studio album from the Fall, and if you’ve been paying attention to music over the last 50 years, you know that generally speaking, once a band starts getting into their late 20s in terms of record releases, they’re usually past their prime. However, this isn’t the case with the Fall. Throughout the 21st century, chief songwriter Mark E.
The only thing more unstable than the Fall's membership over the past 34 years has been their label situation. Fall figurehead Mark E. Smith seems happy to release his music on any ol' label that'll have him, whether it's A-list indies (Beggars Banquet, Rough Trade), under-the-radar imprints (Narnack, Action Records), or companies best known for issuing budget-series classic-rock concert DVDs (Eagle Rock).
As near as I can remember, the only time I was right about anything was on the 18th of June 2007. The place was London's Islington Academy, it was quite a nice day, and I was interviewing New Pornographers frontman Carl Newman. At some point I rather rudely blurted out a suggestion that people ….
Entering on “O.F.Y.C. Showcase” with that lurch and throb that they do so well -- guitar, drums, and bass in perfect Mancabilly sync -- the Fall sound as vital as ever on Your Future Our Clutter, their 28th studio album leader/vocalist Mark E. Smith describes perfectly with the song's line “a showcase of proud talent.” Add the cover artwork which, in a rare move, features pictures of the bandmembers, and fans can correctly assume that everything is good in the Fall's often tumultuous world as the members from their previous effort all show up here.
The Fall don’t give a fuck about fidelity. Mark E. Smith and company have never been afraid to put studio recordings next to pieces that were essentially muddy four-track sketches — cutting, pasting, and blending until an endpoint is reached. This very approach created dissonance between Smith and producer John Leckie during the recording of 1986’s Bend Sinister, when at one point Smith purportedly wanted to use a cassette version of the album he had been listening to on a Walkman for the final mixing.
The Fall have broken out of time, and exist slightly away from the rest of us. Kev Kharas 2010 You don’t last as long as The Fall have without learning a few things. Things like how many times you have to play the same riff before it becomes invincible, and how long you have to spend barking at people before they start treating you like a hero. Mark E.