The Fall, "Your Future Our Clutter"
Summary: The Fall's "Your Future Our Clutter" proves that a band can drop 28 studio releases and still come up with some crazy compositions. This is a disc filled with awesome, and while it may not break any new ground, it certainly is the product of an experimental band that has not come to rest on their laurels.
Twenty-eight albums and a gazillion live, compilation, and other releases brings us to Your Future Our Clutter, a release hot on the heels of lead-man Mark E. Smith's guest spot on the Gorillaz' "Glitter Freeze" (off of Plastic Beach). How a band can consistently pump out releases and remain relevant, even experimental, is certainly a question for the ages, and even if there's no clear answer forthcoming, it's clear that it is possible: The Fall are still expanding boundaries. Seemingly unable to realize widespread acclaim, The Fall aren't in danger of ending up in obscurity either with the strength of this (and so many other) releases.
Although this album doesn't pull any tricks out that are ground-breaking, it still finds itself neatly in the pocket of "let's try some oddball stuff." And it works. The tracks utilize a standard rock group makeup to lay down a repetitious but involving groove, while exercising technical creativity in the production add-ons and occasional electronic loops or additions. Oddly distorted vocals might whisper in your eyes just behind Smith's ominous, almost drunk-sounding ravings, and clipped notes or strange synth blasts will hum and flourish, blooming like beautiful flowers one moment and irradiated mushroom clouds the next (see "Chino"). The hypnotic rhythms will then crescendo into discordant jams ("Bury Pts. 1+3" and "O.F.Y.C. Showcase"). Predominantly electronic soundscapes dominate a few moments ("Weather Report 2"), but these are very few and far between, often equating to less than a quarter of a track's length, if and when they appear at all.
Even the "standard" songs ("Funnel of Love") are anything but standard. Tasteful guitars are backed by weird fuzz, and the drums will often explode into surf-rock beats or pummeling fills. Frankly, Your Future... makes excellent use of the drum kits cymbals. As an aside, it's an interesting exercise to see if you can figure out who is currently in the lineup of The Fall; their Wikipedia page lists the equivalent of half the population of China as having revolved through this band at one time or another.
Punk sensibilities, experimental electronics, and solid rock musicianship provide a wild assortment of music on one extremely respectable disc. Smith's vocals may still prove a make it/break it hurdle to some people, but you'd be a fool not to at least give a few tracks the once over, because there's not a single stinker on this disc.