Album: The Fall, Your Future Our Clutter (Domino)
Indolence lost: how boredom refired a rock'n'roll maverick
Sunday 25 April 2010
The single eternal rule with the Fall is that the first album you happen to hear by them will always be your favourite.
What, then, will Fall virgins – if such creatures still exist – make of Your Future Our Clutter? The obvious thing to say, but let's say it anyway, is that if this was the debut album by a young band, rather than the 28th by a band led by a 53-year-old who's been knocking around since 1977, they'd be on the front page of every music mag and on the lips of every hipster.
Opener "O.F.Y.C. Showcase" is, as its title hints, about as Fall-by-numbers as this one gets. From there on it's an unusual record even by their standards, with Mark E Smith breaking new lyrical territory on what is surely his most personal and autobiographical album.
The overriding theme is the frustration and boredom of being hospitalised and wheelchair-bound with a broken leg, as Smith was last year. Although he takes a while to get to it. "Bury Pts 1 + 3" is a RAK records-style glam-stomp through a broken Tannoy in which he lambasts journalist Ben Marshall regarding an Uncut interview which led to Smith being investigated by the RSPCA for squirrel abuse (a return to the press-baiting themes of Fall classic "Mere Pseud Mag Ed" among others).
Light relief is provided with a cover of "Funnel of Love", a 1961 track by first lady of rockabilly Wanda Jackson, in the tradition of the Fall's previous knockabout covers such as "White Lightning", "Mr Pharmacist", "Victoria" and "There's a Ghost in My House".
The album's compact nine-track total is deceptive: "Y.F.O.C./Slippy Floor" shifts through several gears, constituting at least four songs in one over its eight-minute span, and its third movement – at least, I think it's the third – is thrilling, like a punk gig happening inside the engine of a 747.
The album ends with "Weather Report 2", which has the relaxed feel of river waters reaching their estuary. Smith laments that "Nobody has ever called me sir in my entire life", and the housebound howl "I watched Murder She Wrote at least five times/ The cast deserved to die". As it fades out, he whispers "You don't deserve rock'n'roll", a cripple castigating the young for their indolence. Fine work, sir.
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