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. Smith has released some surprisingly relevant material. Maybe it’s because he has kept a revolving door in his recording booth (he’s been the Fall’s only constant member), or maybe the band has become impervious to diminishing returns. Regardless, they’ve been relentlessly untypical and consistently awesome, and Your Future might be their best effort of the last decade.
The album strikes an interesting balance between the band’s post-punk origins and new-age experimentation. For the traditionalists, there’s “Y.F.O.C./Slippy Floor (Medley),” a seven-minute clobbering of disjointed guitar noise and punishing drum rolls. It’s old Fall at heart, but it doesn’t scalp any old ideas from, say, This Nation’s Saving Grace, and it sounds exceptionally self-contained. But it’s the record’s more variant strands (the multi-act closer “Weather Report 2,” the driving, peculiarly poppy “Hot Cake”) that are the real stars here. They incorporate so many oddball elements—hustled krautrock, ambient-drone electro, prehistoric disco-punk—that it honestly makes your head spin. The Fall has always allowed modern ingredients to creep into their music, but what’s impressive is that they’ve managed to do it for as long as they have without repeating themselves.
“Cowboy George,” the Daft-Punk-sampling, spaghetti-western assault that comes just four songs into Your Future, nicely sums up the Fall’s demeanor as a whole. Thirty-four years after the band’s genesis, Smith is continuing to take influence from everything he hears, no matter how unexpected it might be. As long as he keeps that up, he’ll continue to challenge the idea of what a band as old as the Fall is supposed to sound like.