Thirty years into it and they still make records like this? I challenge you to come up with a band that has been going this long and still retains the ability to challenge and engage. Mark E. Smith walks the fine line between creative genius and mad scientist. The Genius side has put out albums like Hex Enduction Hour, This Nation’s Saving Grace, Extricate and the Unutterable. The mad scientist has created the likes of Levitate, Are You Are Missing Winner and Cerebral Caustic.
Smith has gone through a rough patch, at least physically, in the past year. He fell and broke his hip (the second time he’s he’s broken it), which saw the Fall only releasing one single last year and Smith performing on stage in a wheelchair. Fall fans have become accustomed to getting a new Fall record every year, but last year we had to make do with the Slippy Floor single that got a stealth release at the end of last year. The wait is over though, with the band releasing their first new album since 2008’s Imperial Wax Solvent. I for one will settle for a Fall record every two years if we’re guaranteed to get ones as good as Your Future Our Clutter. For a Fall record, it’s short at only nine songs, but there’s no filler. No songs where the band wanks off for nine minutes while Smith goes off on multiple tangents. No, YFOC is the Fall at their leanest and most straightforward. Settling into a period of band stability, at least by Fall standards, this is the second album in a row with the same band personnel.
Smith has said that he thinks this is the best line up he’s ever had in the Fall. That’s saying something, especially when you think of the Scanlon, Hanley, Brix, Wolstencroft years. Not sure if it’s that good, but this is the best batch of songs The Fall have come up in a long time. Pete Greenway’s guitars are endlessly inventive and seem to have awoken Smith’s muse . Smith is obviously transfixed with his recent hospital experiences and growing old. Instead of leaving the capitol, he’s going on about quitting the hospital and watching Murder She Wrote. Don’t worry, it’s not all sitting back and watching episodes of Golden Girls, YFOC is full of adrenalin. During Y.F.O.C./Slippy Floor Smith rants, I’m 95 percent! He’s at least that. Hell, Hot Cake sounds like it could have been off of Wonderful and Frightening World complete with current wife Eleni’s backing vocals, and they dust off Wanda Jackson’s Funnel of Love and gives it a kick in the behind. This guy is not slowing down.
Smith definitely burns the candle from both ends, but it must be an infinitely long candlestick. Your Future Our Clutter shows us that the Fall still matter, and that Smith will still be coming at us with great records well into the future, even if he is confined to a wheelchair. People who are just getting into the Fall always ask: What album should I get? Where should I start? You should start right here.